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When 91% of Irish nurses voted in favour of new pay deal, doctors rejected

DUBLIN: While the majority of nurses in Ireland supported the new pay agreement, the doctors rejected it with dissatisfaction. The doctors union has said no to the public service pay agreement, which is supported by a number of organisations, including Fórsa, Ictu and INMO.

Amid allegations that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has leaked the salary agreement report to doctors, the decision to reject the new deal is expected to spark controversy in the Irish government and politics.


More than 91% of the members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) backed the agreement. Nurses in Ireland had voted until Friday to support the proposed agreement.

Nurses in Ireland have enthusiastically voted in favor of a pay rise of up to 3% and the reinstatement of overtime and premium payments for some 350,000 government employees in 2021 and 2022.

As part of this, the process of withdrawing the extra unpaid hours implemented during the financial crisis of 2013 will also begin. The nurses voted in favour of the proposal to reduce the current 39-hour workday to 37.5 hours.

The government has agreed to increase the overtime rate and increase the annual salary by at least €500 each in 2021, 2022. The public service committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) is also likely to approve the agreement at its meeting next Tuesday. The contract will be ratified if the majority of the employees are in favour, even if some organisations oppose it.

Fórsa, the country’s largest public service trade union, has also asked members to support the proposed agreement. The results of the vote will be announced on Monday.

Several large unions, including the INMO, the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, have now backed the proposed agreement.

Ninety-five percent of Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) members voted against the proposed new agreement.

The agreement “doesn’t live up to the challenge of this moment and our members can’t support it,” said Dr. Paddy Hillery, chairman of the IMO’s non-consultant hospital doctor committee.

The proposed agreement does not recognize the new health care realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMO also said that long-standing grievances of doctors working in public health services are not being addressed.

Dr. Ina Kelly, chairwoman of the IMO Public Health Committee, said she could not accept a pay agreement “which does nothing to address our fundamental problems.”

In addition to IMO members, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland and the association representing medical laboratory scientists were among those who rejected the contract.

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