SIPTU has called on the HSE to end its attempts to recruit 1,000 nurses and midwives on 80% of the staff nurse salary scale following the refusal of graduates to sign up to the scheme. SIPTU Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The announcement today (Thursday, 17th January) that the HSE has extended the deadline for this scheme, while also allowing graduates from 2010 and 2011 to apply, indicates that graduate nurses have rejected this scheme.”He added: “The HSE has refused to confirm the number of applications it has received for the scheme but the numbers have been referred to as paltry. It must now accept that this scheme is a failure and agree to pay nurses the proper rate of pay.”On Tuesday, 8th January, SIPTU wrote to the Minster for Health, James Reilly, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, requesting that they halt the HSE scheme.Kevin Figgis, said: “Minister Reilly has responded stating that the matter is being considered and we are now calling on him to finally end this attempt to create a two tier nursing service.”“We have advised the Ministers that if graduates are employed on existing salary scales for nurses and midwives savings can still be accrued against the current expenditure on agency fees. We are calling for the current plan to be suspended to allow for consultation with SIPTU and for all alternatives to be examined in detail.”Successful candidates will be offered a salary of €21,700 per annum against the current rate for new entrants of €27,234 which is paid to all nurses and midwives employed since 1st January 2011.