Junior Doctors in Ireland to take strike action over non-compliance with the EWTD

On Tuesday 3rd September 2013 the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) served formal notice of industrial action by Junior Doctors.

On Tuesday 3rd September 2013 the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) served formal notice of industrial action by Junior Doctors (or Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) as they are known in Ireland) on the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE).

The IMO has confirmed that this industrial action will take the form of:

  • A one-day national strike of NCHDs in Irish hospitals on 25th September 2013.
  • Each week from the week commencing Monday 30th September, a strike will be called in at least one hospital in each region in the country.

The formal notice of industrial action was submitted today following a special meeting of the Council of the IMO (whose sanction is required in the case of strikes). The Council unanimously passed a motion to support strike action in order to seek to force the HSE to deal with the issue of “dangerously long working hours once and for all”.

The Council passed two motions; a motion to sanction industrial action and a special motion to express “grave concern at the inaction of the HSE in the face of illegal and dangerously long working hours which has a detrimental effect on doctors and patients alike”.

The meeting of the Council followed a special meeting of the NCHD Committee of the IMO. This meeting formally noted the overwhelming vote by NCHDs in favour of escalating their dispute up to and including strike action. The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has confirmed that NCHD members have voted overwhelmingly to escalate the campaign against “dangerously long” working hours to include industrial action, up to and including strike action. A ballot of members undertaken over the past few weeks concluded today. 97% of 1,000 ballots received supported the motion to escalate the dispute up to and including industrial action

Key demands are:

1. An immediate end to shifts in excess of 24 hours in the first instance – this poses the most significant risk to patient safety and the welfare of NCHDs

2. Agreement for a planned move to compliance with the European Working Time Directive (EWHD) by the end of 2014