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February 1st 2011 Volume 18, Issue 9

Express Kate Magner The decision to phase out and

eventually abolish the payment re- ceived by final year midwives and nurses on their clinical placement is, according to Prof. Josephine Hegarty, “a retrograde step.” The decision was taken by the Depart- ment of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive last December without consultation with INMO (Irish Nursing and Midwifery Organisation), who are now planning a nationwide cam- paign of resistance in the coming months. Students work on a full-time

basis (37.5 hours per week), in- cluding nights and weekends, over their nine-month placement and until now have received 80% of a staff nurse’s salary. This has al- ready been cut to 76% this year, and further reductions in pay will

Contents News: 1-9

Features: 10-18 Ents: 19-24 Music: 25-30 Fashion: 31-33

New Corker: 34-35 Gaming: 36-37 Photos: 38-39 Humour: 40 Sport: 41-44

be carries out until the proposed abolishment in 2015. Introduced just before UCC

final year students signed their contracts, Tanya O’Connor told the Express that “the 80% had been crossed out with an ink pen… We had more time to sign an internet access form than our actual con- tracts.” Acting Head of the Catherine

McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Prof. Hegarty believes that the move will cause financial hardship, particularly for mature students. It could also potentially cut off nursing as a career to stu- dents from lower socio-economic groups “which is not good in terms of equal access for all to education and certainly not good for the pro- fession of nursing.” The INMO fourth year rep for

UCC, Ms. O’Connor said that the students “are not going to take it lying down.” Following a meeting with INMO and the Student’s Union on Friday, nursing and mid- wifery students are planning a se- ries of actions, beginning with a non-disruptive lunchtime protest in mid-February. If this is ineffective there could be a protest March in Dublin and withdrawal of labour by fourth year students following a secret ballot. However, Ms. O’- Connor stated that “the aim is not to withdraw work.”

Daniel Dennett with Genevieve Shanahan, auditor of the UCC Atheist Society, at his “What should replace religion” talk in UCC. See page 4. Photo: Julia Healy

Ms. O’Connor also stated that

the students are being fully sup- ported by UCC SU and the USI. SU Welfare Officer, Pádraig Rice commented "The measures being imposed were introduced without consultation and just hours before some student nurses were about to sign their contracts. Abolishing the pay of students who are roistered to work 36 hours a week for 9

months is unjust, unfair and akin to slave labour! UCC Students' Union together with the USI will not allow our members to be treated like this.” Not only will the measures af-

fect students, they will possibly af- fect the employment of newly qualified nurses and midwives ac- cording to Ms. O’Connor. “It is de- valuing nurses by not paying them.

Two student nurses take the place of one staff nurse in a ward, so why would you pay a staff nurse when you can have two student nurses for free?” The INMO is currently appeal-

ing the pay cut to the Labour Rela- tions Commission and advising its student members not to sign any contract which includes it.

University College Cork

Nursing and midwife pay cut draws heavy criticism Dennett talks at UCC

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