The Irish Veterinary Nursing Association (IVNA) has begun a process of affiliation with SIPTU following the signing of a service level agreement committing the two organisations to greater co-operation at an event in University College Dublin, this afternoon (Friday, 26th April). SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King, said: “The IVNA has a proud history in seeking to advocate and campaign for the rights of veterinary nurses, including providing for their continued professional development. “Following this affiliation, SIPTU organisers will commence a comprehensive campaign targeted at achieving justice for these workers. This campaign will focus on securing proper pay scales, job specifications, fair conditions of employment and, importantly, respect and recognition for the vital role that they play in the provision of veterinary medicine.” IVNA Chairperson, Lorraine McDonnell, said: “Our members are looking forward to working with SIPTU to address the many issues of concern to veterinary nurses across the State. SIPTU representatives have proposed a clear and definite plan in terms of achieving collective bargaining rights and improvements in wages and conditions of employment. “The IVNA feel that it is time to push forward and make some real changes to the working conditions of veterinary nurses in Ireland. Together with SIPTU, we know that we can achieve real change which benefits and recognises our profession.” SIPTU Organiser, Geoff McEvoy, said: “Veterinary nursing became a regulated profession in 2008. It has a highly qualified workforce which is young and predominantly female. An independent survey of the veterinary nursing profession carried out by Behaviours and Attitudes on behalf of the Veterinary Council of Ireland in 2016 revealed many issues of concern surrounding pay and conditions.”  He added: “In 2018, the IVNA used the previous research as a benchmark to assess industry changes by conducting its own national survey, finding its members are generally poorly paid and do not enjoy terms and conditions of employment commensurate with their qualifications. The 2018 survey also revealed a staggering increase in the number of individuals opting to leave the profession as a result of these ongoing issues. This is a situation, which through their affiliation with SIPTU, veterinary nurses will be able to change.”