I was delighted to support the local members of the Irish Nurses Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association in their work stoppage on Wednesday outside St. Luke's Hospital. It sems ludicrous that Mary Harney, who's turning into a fine replacement for Thatcher, and the so-called negotiator we have for a Taoiseach have led us all to this mad point where virtually all the workers in our hospitals, from doctors down to ancillary staff are either engaged in or threatening industrail action. I stated plainly to the nurses that I fully support their claim for a 35 hour week, something that is long overdue. I see this evening that the Taoiseach is offering to carry out a feasibility study into providing this- nearly 20 years too late!!
What a joke that one of our most respected groups of workers are offered a study into a 20 year old demand. I also told the nurses that I support their demand for decent pay although not be easy to acieve while the nurses stay outside benchmarking. I agree with Michael D. Higgins that it is vital for bith the ICTU and the Taoiseach to get involved to ensure this dispute does not lead to long-term damage to the industrial relations climate. Hopefully we'll see Liz MacManus as the next Minister for Health to sort this out first-hand.