Saturday 1 October 2016

Hospital consultants begin legal action in €250m 'wrongly withheld' pay claims

Published 01/04/2016 | 14:43

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Hospital consultants have begun legal action to try to recoup around €250m in pay which they claim was wrongly withheld.

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The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said today it has started legal proceedings in the High Court to secure the release of salary increases which were due in 2009 under the terms of the 2008 Consultant Contract.

Dr. Peadar Gilligan, chairman of the IMO consultant committee, said reports in the media suggest the Attorney General is advising the Government that the HSE action can not be defended.

He said "given this reported view of the AG on this matter, we would question why the HSE would waste further taxpayer money by fighting this issue.” 

Dr Gilligan said the IMO has been in dispute with the HSE on this issue since 2009 when the HSE unilaterally decided to withhold salary increases due at that time under the doctors' 2008 contract.

A recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) hearing on this matter and the reported advice of the Attorney General confirms the IMO position that this payment was illegally withheld.  The IMO will vigorously pursue this issue and will proceed with legal cases to the High Court unless the matter is settled.                

The IMO has been in dispute with the HSE on this issue since 2009 when the HSE unilaterally decided to withhold salary increases due at that time under the 2008 Contract.

"A recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) hearing on this matter and the reported advice of the Attorney General confirms the IMO position that this payment was illegally withheld.  The IMO will vigorously pursue this issue and will proceed with legal cases to the High Court unless the matter is settled.

He termed the HSE's deciion to withhold the salary as an “abuse of their position as an employer”.

He added: “is it any wonder that the HSE is struggling to recruit doctors given their record as an employer.  Incidents like this feed the general crisis in morale amongst Irish doctors and directly contribute to the current exceptionally high emigration levels amongst Irish doctors

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