Nursing unions are calling for a complete boycott of a new Health Service graduate employment scheme.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced plans to recruit 1,000 graduate nurses and midwives on reduced salaries next year.
The workers will be hired on 80% of the current entry pay scale.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association are branding the move a cheap labour scam.
'No consultation or discussion'
The INMO claims "the government announced this recruitment initiative...without any meaningful consultation or discussion".
It also says that the propsed recruitment drive "has been tarnished and sullied by the proposed payment of 80% of the public sector pay rate for new graduates taking up the programme".
The body adds that the simple conversion from employment through an agency to direct employment, while placing the new graduate on the minimum of the agreed public sector scale "would have saved the HSE over 54% per annum".
It concludes that "this very significant saving was not sufficient and the government now appears intent upon imposing this 80% rate even though the new graduate, as a registered nurse/midwife, will carry the full duties and responsibilities of a registered and regulated health professional".
Liam Doran is INMO General-Secretary.
He says contracts issued to graduates in 2012 are being terminated as a result.