SIPTU have advised members to ignore a recent intimidatory statement, from the Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI), with regard to the current campaign of opposition to the 50% increase in retention fee being sought by that organisation. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “SIPTU and the other nursing unions have reiterated their advice, to all members, in relation to the attempt by NMBI to impose a fee increase. That is to make no payment at this time in response to renewal notices as the matter has been raised under the Haddington Road Agreement with the Department of Health. “All available nurses and midwives are also requested to attend a public protest outside the NMBI headquarters in Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin on Tuesday 18th November, at 12.00 p.m. He added: “The three nursing unions have also advised their members that the NMBI’s own rules ensure that no decision, about non-payment, can come before its board prior to March. Also, the HSE, last year, gave the 30th May as the last date for production of confirmation that the retention fee had been paid. “Against this factual background the NMBI’s recent unsigned statement, suggesting that the disputed fee, of €150, has to be paid, in full, by the 1st January, is misleading, disingenuous, intimidatory and very divisive. Furthermore the unions believe it confirms the level of separation between the NMBI and the professions it is charged with regulating.” In maintaining their campaign of opposition the three unions have re-affirmed their support for a retention fee, of €100, which is the same retention fee levied upon all other allied health professionals, the need for a regulatory body that protects the public by ensuring that nurses and midwives can practice in an environment conducive to the highest quality care through safe practice and that all expenditure by this statutory regulatory body is subject to openness and full transparency with tighter controls of public relations and legal costs.