By Gary Culliton.
The IMO has demanded an “unambiguous statement” that there will be no pay cuts for its consultant members.
Director of Industrial Relations Steve Tweed indicated that as its members had worked within the Public Service Agreement, an unambiguous statement was needed from the Government and the HSE that they would adhere to their side of the deal. “It is important that this is confirmed by November 5, in advance of the IMO consultative ballot and meetings,” Tweed said.
The IMO has sought confirmation from the HSE that it will accept the clause within the Croke Park agreement which protects pay, in light of recent warnings of possible salary cuts for consultants. “We do not expect our members to be penalised,” Tweed said. “We have been compliant with the Croke Park agreement throughout the process.”
The HSE has signalled that the IHCA, which did not turn up at the Labour Court, might find itself outside the Croke Park deal and that consultants might lose the protection the agreement affords.
A binding decision of the Labour Court on rest days into the future and the second opinion allowance — which the IMO has pledged to accept — is expected by this Friday or on Monday at the latest.
The IHCA insists that the two issues were not covered by Croke Park and the Association did not attend last week’s Labour Court hearing. A ruling on whether the IHCA is in breach of the Croke Park deal – either through not attending the hearing or by not abiding by any determination eventually made — would be a decision for the Croke Park Implementation Body.
The IMO will ballot its consultant membership on the two binding Labour Court rulings and on last month’s Labour Relations Commission flexibility proposals. However, it would be “impossible” to carry out a ballot before the HSE’s implementation deadline of November 5, Tweed told IMT.
The IMO is holding hospital and regional meetings in the week beginning November 5, which are scheduled to run for two weeks. Its ballot of consultants — which is expected to close on November 21 — would be conducted in parallel.
The HSE has written to hospitals, informing them to start preparatory work for changes due to commence on November 5. Tweed complained this was “pre-empting” the outcome of the ballot. “I am asking the HSE to be pragmatic in their approach to the local consultation work that is required under Croke Park,” he commented.