A major stand-off between 500 hospital staff and the HSE over the €250,000 pay-packet of a manager heading up a key hospital group is set to escalate after talks to resolve the matter broke down.
Impact trade union said it would continue its work-to-rule at the five-facility strong University of Limerick Hospital Group over the payment to the area’s chief operations officer, Liam Casey.
As detailed by the Irish Examiner last week, 500 hospital staff at the UL group — which comprises Ennis General, Limerick Regional, Limerick Maternity Hospital, Croom Orthopaedic and Nenagh General — are refusing to co-operate with Mr Casey due to a dispute over his pay packet.
After the HSE was unable to fill the vital senior post, Mr Casey was brought in from outside consultancy group STARLINE on a €250,000 package — more than double the €116,000 figure earmarked for any public service appointment to the role.
Impact had hoped a Labour Relations Commission meeting with senior HSE officials yesterday would resolve the issue, which it said was needlessly taking money away from badly-needed frontline areas. However, during the at-times heated discussion, the HSE confirmed that while a public servant replacement was expected to be appointed by September, Mr Casey would continue on his current income until November.
Impact said the issue was unacceptable for administrative staff, therapists and social workers who expected the situation to be resolved by September at the latest.
As a result, union official Andy Pike said the 500 staff taking industrial action were now set to escalate their work-to-rule, an issue which will impact on frontline services, until the matter is resolved.
“It would be reasonable for the expensive consultant to be off the books entirely by the end of September at the latest.
“To be blunt, management’s proposal seems designed to further frustrate staff and taxpayers and make this situation worse. I’d hoped for a rational and realistic proposal for staffing,” he said.
In a statement last night, a HSE spokesperson said management were “extremely disappointed with Impact’s decision to continue with industrial action”.
“The UL management team can see no rationale for the continuation of the industrial action, given that the only matter in dispute is the contract end date.”
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