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Talks planned to avert doctors’ strike in Ireland while government discusses school reopening with unions

TALKS will resume next week in a bid to stave off a strike by public health specialists in a dispute over pay and conditions, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) confirmed yesterday.

A walkout had been planned for earlier this month but was put on hold due to a surge in coronavirus cases in Ireland. The union said it would review its position at the end of January.

The doctors have argued for pay parity with hospital consultants for years, insisting they need a new contract “to reflect their expertise and specialist skills.”

Public health specialists have played a key role on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a November ballot they voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action.

Separately, the government is to meet teaching unions today to explore the possibility of reopening schools in February if the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall.

Plans to reopen special schools and classes collapsed earlier this week after the unions raised safety concerns.

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation general secretary John Boyle said he believed the number of new cases would need to continue to fall before schools could reopen.

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