Solidarity-People Before Profit brought forward a Dáil motion calling on the government to pay student nurses who are working on the frontline. The practice of unpaid placements for these students has been scrutinized in recent months due to the increased risk to their health whilst on the frontline. Back in March, it was announced that students who were working in hospitals whilst on placement would be paid. However, the payment has since ceased.
People Before Profit Cllr Adrienne Wallace slammed local TDs Jennifer Murnane O’Connor, Malcolm Noonan and John McGuinness for voting against the motion. She said “It was recently reported that St. Luke’s is on a knife-edge trying to deal with Covid-19, we should be doing all we can to help the healthcare service but instead student nurses and midwives are being taken advantage of. This will send the signal to any prospective nurses to not take up work in this field and cause more damage down the road. They are keeping people safe while risking their own lives, it is a big task for any young person to make. We should be ensuring they can at least afford to pay their rent, but after all the applause the government has chosen to abandon them.”
Cllr Wallace added “People have had enough of this double standard in society; the government’s refusal to pay student nurses is in stark contrast to the huge pay hikes they choose to give themselves earlier in the year. And when the majority of us abided by the public health guidelines, government officials chose to break the rules by dining at the Oireachtas Golf Dinner. Enough is enough”
Cllr Wallace concluded “The refusal to pay student nurses is another sign of the contempt the government holds towards workers. The vast bulk of those on the front line are already low paid, Ireland is also one of the only EU countries without mandatory sick pay and when Covid-19 ran rampant in meat factories the government chose to lock down three counties rather than enforce regulations on the industry. They are consistently putting profit before people and health. Workers should join trade unions and start to organise for better pay and conditions.”