medicaldoctorCape Times reports that after a decade-long battle, 50 doctors have claimed victory over the Western Cape health department after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) dismissed with costs the department’s leave to appeal an order to pay scarce skills allowances.  

The 15% allowance is an annual salary earned by the doctors, and is payable to designated employees appointed on a full-time basis.  In 2006, the department failed to pay the allowance to doctors employed by UCT and Stellenbosch University who also work at public hospitals as principal and chief specialists.  They took the case to the Labour Court, which decided that they were entitled to the allowance in terms of a collective agreement concluded in the Public Health and Welfare Sector Bargaining Council.  The department took the matter to the Labour Appeal Court, which upheld the appeal, and held that the Labour Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.  The doctors then brought a review application to the Labour Court.  The parties later agreed to refer the matter to the CCMA, which held that the respondents were employees within the public service and were entitled to the scarce skills allowance.  The department then turned to the ConCourt, which found in the doctors’ favour.

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