Thursday, 31 January 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Industrial relations are complex and challenging by their nature. The Tánaiste seems to be acting as if the Government is a passive observer and there is an immutable agreement in place that does not have within it the flexibility that is always created to allow for imagination and the resolving of disputes. That is the nature of every single agreement because the public sector is a complex, multifaceted organisation. That flexibility, imagination and creativity has not existed in the Government's approach to this issue to date. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, ICTU, which wants to protect the overarching public sector wage agreement - it is the ally of the Government in that regard - knows that there is the flexibility in the agreement to address the nurses' genuine grievance. Will the Government talk to ICTU? Will it listen to how flexibility can be found within the parameters of the agreement? Will it cease being a passive observer, because thousands of our people who have been waiting for months, or sometimes years, for urgent medical appointments are anxious?