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Picketing officially began this morning for the nurses' strike, which is only the second time in 100 years that the group have carried out work stoppages.

According to The Journal, three-quarters of Irish people support the nurse's 24-hour strike, which is being carried out over an apparent recruitment and retention issue.

Nurses and midwives across the county will be out on the picket line today, fighting for pay and better working conditions at hospitals and private clinics nationwide.

Nursing unions are seeking pay parity with other health service grades, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has announced that talks which were held at the Labour Court on Monday night did not lead to any breakthroughs.

The INMO has over 40,000 members, and announced the strikes earlier in January. Over 90 percent of members which were polled voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot held in November.

According to nurses, increasing their pay is the only way to retain nurses, and this would improve working conditions, as well as the recruitment and retention crisis among members.

The government has expressed it's concern over pay rises for nurses outside of the broader public sector pay agreement reached last year, and has refused to give in to the nurses' demands.

The strikes have gone ahead after the Labour Court claimed it would not intervene in the dispute in a formal way, as the government are anxious that other industries will also request pay rises if the nurses obtain their requested 12 percent rise.

A Claire Byrne LiveTheJournal.ie poll of 1,000 adults by Amárach Research found huge support for the nurses' action, with 74 percent of participants expressing agreement with the 24-hour strike. 

Only 17 percent said no, while 9 percent were unsure.

Members of the public have been requested by the HSE only to attend emergency services in hospitals if it is totally necessary.

Liam Woods, HSE national director of acute operations, commented; “We would appeal that patients would only attend the emergency services if absolutely essential."

In emergencies, there will be an emergency response, and any patients whose appointments or surgeries have been cancelled will achieve priority in the weeks following the strike.

The INMO has also said that further strikes will take place on the February 5 and 7, and then February 12, 13 and 14 if an agreement cannot be reached. 

Feature image: Limerick Leader

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Bus Éireann services could be back on the roads this weekend. 

The Labour Court said that it will issue a recommendation in the hopes of resolving the ongoing Bus Éireann strike by lunchtime today. 

It is hoped that once this recommendation is heard, the strike will be called off.

National Bus and Rail Union general secretary Dermot O’Leary told the Labour Court that once a recommendation was granted, the pickets would be lifted, according to The Irish Times.

The strike has caused chaos for commuters, particularly in rural areas of the country. 

A ballot between Dublin Bus drivers was taken this week and saw a 78 per cent vote in favour of striking alongside Bus Éireann.

The organisation must give seven days notice of strike action, by which time the Bus Éireann issue may be rectified. 

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The Bus Éireann strike has now reached day twenty, and a discussion to resolve the dispute will kick off at the Labour Court this morning. 

The strike has caused chaos for commuters, particularly in rural areas of the country. 

The first session of talks at the Labour Court ended yesterday afternoon after it was adjourned to "allow further talks between management and unions to clarify certain issues," according to RTÉ.

The decision was made to send the issue to the Labour Court yesterday, after talks at the Workplace Relations Commission ended without resolution. 

"After 16 days of intensive negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission, talks have broken down without agreement," Bus Eireann confirmed.

"The unions have now referred a number of issues to the Labour Court and the company have agreed to attend."

The hearing will begin at 10.30am.

All Bus Éireann services are on strike, except for school bus services. 

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