The supreme court will on Friday hear opening statements in an appeal filed by the state against a lower court’s decision to retroactively reimburse civil servants for salary and benefit cuts imposed during the austerity years.
The legal battle is expected to be a protracted one.
In March 29 this year, the administrative court ruled that a freeze on incremental pay rises, a 3 per cent contribution to pensions, and a reduction in civil servants’ pay were in violation of article 23 of the constitution regarding the protection of the right to property.
The judgement applied to civil servants as well as persons employed in the broader public sector, like semi-governmental organisations.
As such, the pay reductions were deemed null and void and the applicants entitled to compensation, effective immediately.
The decision was appealed by the state.
Various estimates have been floated on how much the decisions might cost the state should the administrative court’s ruling be upheld, and the affected civil servants compensated.
The most recent estimate was €900m.
The supreme court will also be separately hearing arguments for and against the government’s policy decision to not comply with the lower court’s decision.
That process is due to begin in February.
The government said it won’t pay out any compensation until the supreme court definitely rules on the substance of the matter. Civil servants say the delay in implementing a court decision is unlawful.