Limerick doctors avert ballot for industrial action over hospital pay dispute

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Limerick doctors avert ballot for industrial action over hospital pay dispute

A PROPOSED ballot for industrial action over an ongoing pay dispute at University Hospital Limerick has been averted this week. 

The issue surrounds a dispute between interns and non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHD) and management over non-payment of unrostered overtime. 

Last week, the Irish Medical Organisation’s NCHD committee voted unanimously to support a ballot for industrial action if payment “for all hours worked is not forthcoming” this Thursday, it said in correspondence to UHL doctors.

A source said that interns and NCHDs are “ready to press forward with industrial action” if they were not paid unrostered overtime this Thursday, January 25. 

UL Hospitals Group had previously told the Limerick Leader that “any outstanding claims for unrostered overtime, where approved by line managers, will be paid in the January pay periods”.

IMO representatives met with senior management at University Hospital Limerick to discuss the issue. 

At 8pm on Thursday, the IMO told the Limerick Leader that the union secured commitment from UHL “pay all overtime in line with contract due to all NCHDs in February. 

“Ballot of UHL NCHDs to proceed with recommendation for immediate industrial action if payments not made,” the spokesperson said. 

Two weeks ago, the UL Hospitals Group said that it issued €2.5m in overtime payments between October and December.

Regarding the ongoing pay dispute, the spokesperson said that it “greatly values the hard work and dedication of our interns”.

“We take our responsibilities as an employer with the utmost seriousness. Equally, the executive at UL Hospitals Group has a fiduciary duty in terms of managing public monies. We have a responsibility to control payroll costs in the interests of protecting services to our patients.”

The spokesperson said that it “rejects any assertion that unrostered overtime claims, once the agreed process has been followed, are not being honoured”. 

The spokesperson previously said: “Each year, UL Hospitals Group welcomes medical interns to the Group as part of their ongoing training and we greatly value the hard work done by all of our highly skilled NCHDs.”