Saturday 29 November 2014

IMO faces claim over executive's sick pay

Published 31/08/2014 | 02:30

The IMO is involved in a claim in the LRC
The IMO is involved in a claim in the LRC

The country's biggest doctors' union, the Irish Medical Organisation, is facing an embarrassing claim by a senior executive over a failure to pay sick pay.

Maria Murphy, who has worked for the IMO for 24 years, as its head of communications, has been on sick leave for over a year.

She is the longest serving member of the 5,000 strong trade union.

She was treated for cancer and other conditions over the past year. Her claim is due to be heard in public at the Labour Relations Commission on Tuesday, before a Rights Commissioner.

In a dramatic twist, the former chief executive of the IMO, George McNeice is to give evidence on her behalf.

Mr McNeice received a controversial near €10m retirement settlement from the IMO two years ago.

A review into issues around that settlement, promised by the IMO, and sought by members has never been held.

It is understood that Mr McNeice may take legal action to force the review to be held.

In her claim, Maria Murphy says the IMO has paid her just 14 days sick pay, when she is entitled to six months full pay and six months on half pay, given her seniority in the trade union and her contractual rights. She is believed to be seeking around €75,000.

The IMO is expected to say that this sick pay entitlement is not stipulated in any contract.

The case will be embarrassing for the IMO, given Ms Murphy's illness, her position in the IMO and its regular claims to be an advocate for patients.

The IMO is also a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and regularly appears before the LRC and Labour Court over the alleged failure of employers to honour contracts for doctors.

Ms Murphy worked under many high profile IMO presidents, including the former Health Minister, Dr James Reilly and is regarded as one of the country's top press officers.

Her last appearance was at the IMO's annual conference in Killarney in 2013.

The case comes after last week the Irish Medical Organisation rejected a Labour Relations Commission recommendation for increased pay for newly appointed hospital consultants.

It will see them paid up to €175,000 a year after around 12 years of service, for their public work, from tomorrow, September 1.

Consultants can also earn significantly more in private income.

Sunday Independent

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