Gilmore defends 20% cut to nurses' starting salaries

The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has defended a new scheme to hire 1,000 nurses on starting salaries 20% lower than existing workers.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation general secretary Liam Doran said the move was an attempt to introduce cheap labour.

He said many new graduates who were already in employment were having their contracts cancelled, forcing them to reapply for lower-paid jobs.

Eamon Gilmore said there was nothing unusual about introducing a starting salary for employees, and that no existing nurses would lose their jobs.

"There is nothing new or unusual about an entry rate for a job," he said, "and when these two-year contracts are up, each of these nurses will have two years nursing experience and their employment and earnings potential will be much greater as a result."

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