Tomorrow's industrial action by 10,000 health support staff has been deferred pending the outcome of emergency talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Trade union SIPTU confirmed the news this evening, saying that discussions on implementing the job evaluation scheme for workers will continue tomorrow.
Staff like porters, chefs, and maternity care assistants were due to hold the 24-hour strike from 8am due to a row over whether staff are due a pay rise under the scheme.
The action was due to take place across 38 hospitals and facilities, with the strike predicted by the HSE to have a "very serious" impact on hospital services.
A further five days of work stoppages are due to take place over the next fortnight, with SIPTU confirming that preparations for a strike next Tuesday and Wednesday are continuing.
SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The strike action scheduled for tomorrow is now deferred at the request of the Workplace Relations Commission. Discussions on the implementation of the job evaluation scheme for SIPTU members in the health service will commence tomorrow (Thursday, 20th June). Preparations for strike for next Tuesday (June 25th) and Wednesday (June 26th) will continue.”
The HSE welcomed the deferral, saying that hospitals would try and reinstate patient appointments which had been cancelled.
It said it would contact people directly if any procedures could go ahead as planned tomorrow.
In a statement, the HSE said: "The HSE welcomes the deferral of tomorrow’s planned industrial action by SIPTU at 38 Hospital Sites and healthcare facilities pending the resumption of talks at the WRC tomorrow.
"Hospitals will endeavour to reinstate services and appointments in so far as possible and will contact patients directly to advise of any appointments and procedures that can proceed tomorrow. Community services will operate a full service tomorrow."