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The IMO voted last night to support the move by public health doctors to ballot to allow industrial action up to and including strike action. The ballot is due to take place before the end of November.
The special resolution was passed at the IMO’s AGM supporting the ballot to allow action “if the long promised grade of consultant is not awarded to 60 public health specialists.”
What the union described in its press release as an “unexpected move”, a “surprise motion” of support was passed followed a “deeply disappointing” meeting on the issue with the Department of Health earlier in the day.
The Chair of the IMO Public Health Committee, Dr Ina Kelly said that yesterday’s meeting with the Department of Health had made a bad situation worse.
“We went hoping to make progress but we have come away more frustrated and angry,” said Dr Kelly.
“The Department thinks it can delay this issue and tie it up with future structures and reforms. We will certainly discuss and engage on much needed reforms but we will do so as consultants and not before we have secured that long overdue respect.
“While we remain available for talks it seems that we have no option but to proceed with our ballot before the end of November which has already been agreed at a meeting of IMO members.
“No doctor wants to take industrial action but such is the disappointment, frustration and low morale of our members in the face of Government disrespect we expect to receive an overwhelming mandate.
“The Public Health Committee will be holding a series of meetings in the coming weeks to plan for the ballot and any industrial action which we hope will not be necessary but for which we must plan for.”
IMO President Dr Padraig McGarry said that public health doctors deserved far better from the Government.
“Not only are our public health doctors exhausted from long hours keeping the nation safe, they are angry and frustrated about the complete lack of respect shown to them by the Government. We have seen no progress from the Government and in fact we are going backwards.”