Deal struck with nurses to cost up to €35m next year – Donohoe

The deal struck with nurses will cost up to €35m next year, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

He also refused to comment on how on the possibility of knock-on claims by other unions.

The strike by 40,000 nurses was called off after an intervention by the Labour Court.

If members of the nurses union, the INMO, vote in favour of the proposed deal, a significant number stand to receive an increase of up to 7pc in their pay.

Mr Donohoe said that the recommendation of the Labour Court will lead to additional costs of between €10m and €15m this year.

He said the costs next year would be between €30m and €35m.

Mr Donohoe said: “When we go through the work that we have planned in relation to contracts with the nursing union which was laid out by the Labour Court that will enable further clarity in relation to this.”

He added that “productivity and the reallocation of funding for the new entrant agreement is making a very big difference to how we will fund this”.

Mr Donohoe was asked if he is confident he has a bullet-proof assurance of no knock on claims from other unions following on from the deal with the nurses.

He said: “In relation to how other unions will respond to the agreement. That is a matter for those unions in terms of decisions that they want to make and it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on how they will evaluate it.”

It was put to Mr Donohoe that the nurses breached the Public Services Stability Agreement with their industrial action, and he was asked if penalties would be imposed on them as had previously happened with teachers.

He said: “I’ve indicated in relation to this that I’m currently not planning to make that decision because there is now a process underway in relation the agreement that we’ve made with the Labour Court.”

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