MEP Prendergast urges graduate healthcare professionals from South Tipperary to boycott cut-price employment scheme

Labour MEP representing South Tipperary, and former nurse and midwife, Phil Prendergast, today warned that healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the county, are being targeted by the Minister for Health James Reilly with “graduate schemes” similar to those proposed for graduate nurses. 
The schemes propose to de facto retain current job descriptions for entry-level healthcare professionals while pay is reduced to approximately 80% of previous levels.
Speaking about the schemes Ms. Prendergast said “While I welcome all employment schemes and programmes put in place by the government in the times we are in, those schemes must not frontload departmental savings on new entrants who are desperate for a job and who want to avoid emigration. 
“The scheme would force graduates healthcare professionals in South Tipp General Hospital and other facilities around the county to do the same work alongside similarly experienced colleagues for a fraction of the price.
“People deserve to be paid a fair wage for their work, especially highly-skilled graduates such as nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, some of whom will have spent up to five years in university. 
“Graduate nurses and midwives have so far been very successful in their boycott of Minister Reilly’s proposed scheme with estimates that fewer than 30 graduate nurses have applied for the 1000 places available on the programme. This is an extremely principled position by the nurses, many of whom are facing having to emigrate from the locality.
“I encourage all healthcare professionals throughout South Tipp to stand together in their opposition to these schemes. Graduates deserve fair pay for fair work, and must not be unfairly and unjustly shouldered with the burden of savings in the HSE.”  

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