Friday 20 July 2018

Hospital Consultants say they will consider industrial action if pay gap that 'poisoned morale' is not addressed

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Eilish O’Regan

Hospital consultants have hinted they will consider the “last resort” of industrial action if the pay gap which discriminates against recently recruited doctors is not addressed.

The Irish Medical Organisation described the continued pay differential between consultants employed before and after 2012 as a “grossly unfair discrimination which differentiates between colleagues purely on the basis of the date on which they were hired”.

It has “poisoned morale” and the union will explore legal, industrial relations and other avenues” to make their case,” said the union.

President Dr Peadar Gilligan, warned the pay differential was directly leading to a shortage of consultants for Hospitals across the country and longer waiting lists for patients.

On October 2012 the Government unilaterally imposed a cut of 30pc in the pay for any consultants hired after that date.

The issue “has fed a deepening morale crisis amongst young Irish consultants with increased numbers emigrating to work in other countries and over 400 unfilled consultant posts across the country,” a special meeting was told yesterday.

Speaking at the meeting, consultant gastroenterologist Dr Anthony O’Connor, said: “The introduction of this differential and its focus only on newly employed consultants was one of the most corrosive measures of that time. 

“It has poisoned morale amongst 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.”

The union said it is “committed to continuing to fight for the reversal of this pay cut for consultants employed since 2012 and has committed to exploring legal, industrial relations and other avenues to make their case.”

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