Consultants warn of industrial action over two-tier pay

Lower salaries for newer employees has ‘poisoned morale’ and led to staff shortages

Irish Medical Organisation president Dr Peadar Gilligan said the pay differential was directly leading to longer waiting lists for patients. File photograph: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic

Irish Medical Organisation president Dr Peadar Gilligan said the pay differential was directly leading to longer waiting lists for patients. File photograph: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic

 

Doctors have warned of potential industrial action in hospitals if the Government does not eliminate what they have described as pay discrimination between those appointed in recent years and longer-serving colleagues.

The president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) Dr Peadar Gilligan, said that the pay differential was directly leading to a shortage of consultants in hospitals across the country and longer waiting lists for patients.

He said the IMO hoped the issue would be addressed by the Public Service Pay Commission in its forthcoming report. However, he said while doctors believed industrial action should be a last resort, the IMO was prepared to go down that road if necessary to resolve the pay differences.

The IMO is also understood to have commissioned legal advice on potential legal options.

The IMO on Monday night held a special meeting for consultants appointed to the public health system in recent years who receive lower pay than their colleagues.

The IMO said that on October 1st, 2012, the Government had unilaterally imposed a cut of 30 per cent in pay for consultants hired after that date.

The pay cuts were partially reversed in late 2014 but medical organisations have argued that a significant pay gap remains.

Speaking at the IMO meeting on Monday consultant gastroenterologist Dr Anthony O’Connor said that the pay differential could not be justified and must be reversed:

“The introduction of this differential and its focus only on newlyemployed consultants was one of the most corrosive measures of that time. It has poisoned morale among the next generation of consultants and is directly leading to our inability to fill vacant posts which is irresponsible in a time when over 700,000 people are waiting for hospital appointments. The taoiseach in 2014 made a firm commitment to restoring pay parity and he needs to take personal responsibility for moving on it”.