Students Protest proposed pay cut at Mayo General Hospital


Up to 150 students, nurses, college lecturers and activists including WSM braved the wet and dreary conditions to voice their dissatisfaction at the government's proposed pay-cut to student nurse-interns. The protest held at the gate of Mayo General Hospital was organised by the Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation -Ireland's main Nursing union. Whilst good humoured, there was a palpable anger underlying today's protest which was one of many taking part nationwide. The message is clear from the student nurses and their qualified counterparts - NO PAY, NO WAY - NO TO SLAVE LABOUR.

The protests are part of a campaign designed to resist and prevent the government's plan to phase out the payment to fourth year nursing students (described as nursing interns) by 2015. Currently these full time workers earn 80% of the salary of a newly qualified nurse in his first year of service. The DoH&C plan is to reduce this 80% to 76% this year; 60%, 50% and 40% over the coming three years with these interns becoming effectively slave labour in 2015. This plan will further cripple the already failing health service. This comes as the DoH&C continues to exaggerate the reality that Ireland has a World Class Health System.

Today's protest was clearly supported by the general public as large numbers of passing cars tooted their horns to raptureous cheers from the crowd. Whilst the numbers were relatively small the spirit of the protest was enormous. Further actions are currently in the pipeline, to include further lunchtime protests, sit-ins of healthcare institutions and a protest march and rally on February 16th leaving Parnell Square at 11:30 - ending at the Dept of Health & Children.