THE DEAL between the Government and hospital consultants on work practice reforms, brokered at the Labour Relations Commission last month, has effectively collapsed.
Health service management said
last night it would now bring its plans for reforms to the Labour Court
for binding arbitration under the Croke Park agreement. Minister for
Health James Reilly last month stated the deal with consultants had the
potential to generate €200 million in savings.
HSE’s director of
human resources, Barry O’Brien, said last night that management had not
been able to secure the co-operation of the Irish Hospital Consultants
Association (IHCA) and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) with its
plans to implement the work practice reforms from November 5th. The deal
would have involved the introduction of new arrangements which would
have seen some senior doctors rostered on duty on a round-the-clock
basis in some hospitals.
Mr O’Brien said the IHCA had stated at a
meeting yesterday that it was conducting a survey of members on the
deal, but that it was not in a position to enter into a collective
agreement. He said the IHCA had maintained it was only working with the
Croke Park agreement in a collaborative way.
Mr O’Brien said
management believed the IHCA position was unacceptable. He said the
Croke Park agreement allowed management to press ahead with change even
if the issue was still in process.
The IHCA last weekend said it would recommend the deal to members but that it could not be party to a collective agreement.
O’Brien said the IMO would also not provide co-operation with the
November 5th date for implementing the changes. He said the IMO had
maintained it would not be balloting its members on the deal until the
Labour Court had dealt with two outstanding issues.
of industrial relations Steve Tweed said management, by going down the
road of confrontation, risked losing the goodwill of consultants and
throwing away the achievements of 85 hours of negotiations.
said the IMO went into the meeting with the understanding that
discussions would focus on progress made on the conciliation element
from the Labour Relations Commission.
However, HSE negotiators had
insisted on a commitment from the consultant side that they would
co-operate with the introduction of the LRC proposals on November 5th.
said we were in the middle of a process, and waiting for a ruling from
the Labour Court on two outstanding items,” said Mr Tweed. Asked what
the IMO planned to do now, Mr Tweed said it was committed to the Croke
Park agreement and would give serious consideration to going to the
court. The IHCA did not respond to calls last night.