Industrial action over Croke Park ‘a possibility’ - IMO

Union members told proposals are bad for public service workers and wider economy

The Irish Medical Organisation, which represents doctors, has warned it may take industrial action over the proposed extension to the Croke Park agreement. Photograph: Reuters.

The Irish Medical Organisation, which represents doctors, has warned it may take industrial action over the proposed extension to the Croke Park agreement. Photograph: Reuters.

Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 14:07

MARTIN WALL, Industry Correspondent, in Killarney

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has warned that industrial action by doctors was a possibility if the Government sought to impose the new Croke Park agreement.

Doctors at the IMO's annual conference in Killarney have decided that the organisation will not be bound by any decision on ratification of the proposed deal by the public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions when it meets on April 17th.

IMO assistant director of industrial relations Shirley Coulter said the new Croke Park proposals were bad for public service workers and would not lead to growth in the economy.

She said the IMO and a number of other trade unions opposed to the Croke Park proposals, such as the Civil Public and Services Union and Unite, would meet on Thursday and consider a draft letter to be sent to the public services committee which maintained that "a 'Yes' vote through Congress would not equate to a collective agreement".

"We will not regard it (the Croke Park proposals) as a collective agreement".

She said a number of other unions such as the Irish Federation of University Teachers, the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants and the Teachers Union of Ireland would also be attending the meeting.

Asked whether there was potential for industrial action over the Croke Park proposals, Ms Coulter said: "The IMO is a trade union and industrial action is always an option for us. Obviously it is a last resort but we are adamant that these proposals are bad for public service workers. We will use whatever means we have to to ensure that these proposals are not implemented."

IMO members are currently balloting on the new Croke Park proposals and Ms Coulter said the focus was on securing a "No" vote.

Ms Coulter said the IMO was also seeking a revision of national duties and responsibilities for non-consultant hospital doctors and for the introduction of a new protocol setting out the tasks which are deemed appropriate to be carried out by such doctors.

She said previous surveys carried out by the IMO had found that 30 per cent of tasks carried out by non-consultant hospital doctors could more appropriately be performed by other staff in hospitals.

She said this was a very inefficent way to deliver a health service.

IMO interim executive director Niall Saul said the only thing standing in the way of an absolute breakdown of the hospital system was the sense of responsibility of non-consultant hospital doctors to their profession.