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Doctors' union delays decision on whether to back new pay deal

The Irish Medical Organisation wants clarification on the nature of proposed talks to encourage junior doctors against emigrating.

IMO negotiator Steve Tweed walked out of the original Croke Park 2 talks, in protest at the agreement being put on the table.
IMO negotiator Steve Tweed walked out of the original Croke Park 2 talks, in protest at the agreement being put on the table.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE UNION representing Ireland’s doctors has deferred a decision on whether to recommend that its members support the latest draft of the public service pay deal.

The Irish Medical Organisation is to hold a special council meeting in two weeks to make its recommendation.

The council met last night and said the ‘Haddington Road Agreement’, as the latest proposals have been named, are better than the ‘Croke Park 2′ proposals which its members rejected last month.

Among the reasons the council said it was delaying a decision was to seek clarification on the LRC’s proposal to begin talks next month aimed at discouraging junior doctors from leaving the Irish system and emigrating to find consultancy work abroad.

The IMO said it would seek clarification on the terms of reference, to identify exactly what a “new entrant consultant” was, and whether their pay would also be subject to discussion.

The union said it had “grave concern” over what it saw as the inequitable treatment of doctors, as a result of proposals regarding pay cuts for those earning over €65,000.

While those earning between €65,000 and €100,000 will have their salary restored to previous levels by 2018, those earning over €100,000 at the moment will not be returned to their higher salaries.

The IMO said that proposal would make it difficult to attract and retain talented medical staff, who could be attracted to work abroad as a result.

“The IMO has requested that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform reconsiders this matter,” it said.

IMO negotiators walked out of the talks which led to the Croke Park 2 agreement, and the union recommended that its members reject the deal, which they duly did in a ballot.

Read: Brian Hayes: ‘Unions who reject new public pay deal will face harsher cuts’

In favour: SIPTU and the INTO; Opposed: the ASTI and the TUI

Explainer: Here’s what’s contained in the new ‘Haddington Road’ public pay deal

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Gavan Reilly

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