Monday, 8 th July : The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Monday,8 th July ) that its members will cease working beyond contracted hours  from next Thursday (11 th July) in response to the lack of meaningful progress in talks with the HSE to address the recruitment and retention issues in mental health services.

Announcing  the PNA decision, (which was ratified by the PNA Officer Board)  General Secretary Peter Hughes said  the union  has been engaging with the employers represented by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), Department of Health (DOH) and HSE in direct talks, and under the auspices of the WRC, since PNA suspended strike action on the 20 th February. However, despite over four months of engagement little progress has been made to address the recruitment and retention issues.

“In fact while these talks have been making practically no progress, the recruitment and retention crisis has been exacerbated by some of the actions of the HSE itself. These include:

•  an effective  embargo on recruitment in the HSE
•  in a clear break with the practice of recent years, this year's graduates have not been assured of permanent posts
•  competition from the  private sector to recruit Mental Health nurses  has intensified, with significantly improved and attractive salaries on offer.

Mr Hughes said psychiatric nurses are now irate and frustrated at the disingenuous manner in which the employer has addressed the issues which were to be resolved following the suspension of strike action.

“As communicated at the WRC on 28 th  June, PNA believe there has been a lack of good faith in the negotiations over the past four months which has resulted in there appearing to be no prospect of any agreement imminent. Consequently, PNA has regrettably decided that from the commencement of the day roster on next Thursday (11th July) our members' goodwill can no longer be relied upon and they will not make themselves available to work hours above their contracted hours.”

Media contact: Derek Cunningham 086 2430535

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