The proposals were rejected by 83% to 17% in a ballot of newly appointed consultants and hospital doctors.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he was “very disappointed” at the result.
“The proposed salary scale ranging from €127,000 to €175,000 is very good by any reckoning. The real losers today are patients. The Government will now have to consider its options in filling the consultant vacancies.”
Steve Tweed, director of industrial relations at the IMO, said the rejection was not a surprise. “We repeatedly warned the HSE that the proposals put forward by management through the Labour Relations Commission were insufficient to secure the support of our members and would in fact still amount to a two-tier system of pay for consultants working side-by-side and doing exactly the same work with the same level of responsibility.
“The Government ignored the fundamental principle of equal pay for equal work and now must deal with the consequences of up to 300 vacant consultant posts across the Irish hospital system, a number that is set to rise over the coming months.”
Mr Tweed described the result as a wake-up call for Mr Varadkar and the HSE. “We should be appointing highly trained Irish doctors to these posts and not effectively forcing them to work abroad in hospitals where they are valued more.”