The revised proposals — an advance on an offer which the IMO rejected last October — means consultants working in public hospitals will have a starting salary of €127,000, rising to a maximum of €175,000 on a nine-point performance- related incremental scale.
While the salary figures are the same as those put forward last autumn, the timeframe in which to reach the top of the scale has reduced — the new scale contains nine points instead of 12, with annual increments.
The previous scale did not offer annual increments — the last two points of the scale were “long service awards”, making it about 14 years before doctors could reach maximum earnings.
The new offer will also allow experience gained working overseas to be included in the assessment when determining entry level pay for a consultant returning home — a decision which will be made by a credit committee, which includes two IMO members. Professional qualifications will also be taken on board.
Steve Tweed, IMO industrial relations chief, said it was only the “first step on the path to pay parity”.
Consultants working in public hospitals before the 30% pay cut in October 2012 will still earn more than consultants who come in under the latest offer. Mr Tweed said consultants at the top of the pre-October 2012 pay scale were earning €178,500 while those who came in under the new deal would earn €3,300 less.
However, the new offer is an improvement on the proposals rejected last October designed to try to reverse the damage caused by the October 2012 pay cut. The unions have claimed the 30% cut had the effect of driving consultants overseas, leading to hundreds of vacancies.
Yesterday Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he was happy IMO members have voted in favour of the new salary rates which will apply retrospectively to new entrant consultants with effect from September 1, 2014.
He said the HSE “will now advertise posts where there are vacancies as a priority which I hope will be a significant step in attracting more consultants to work within the public health service”.
The new rates are not available to the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association members as they are outside the Haddington Road agreement. Last week the IHCA said the revised pay proposals were discriminatory.