UCATT wins construction pay holiday dispute

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Construction union UCATT has won a significant victory at an employment tribunal in Dudley, in the West Midlands, where 56 members working for Dudley Council successfully secured the right to be paid holiday pay at the level of pay they usually earned – and not just at their contractual pay level.

The workers worked extra voluntary shifts on a regular basis, as part of a normal weekly and monthly work pattern. Judge Warren accepted that as these voluntary shifts were carried out week-on-week, as a regular part of the job, and thus the received pay for these extra shifts was the workers’ usual wage level – and so should be reflected in their holiday pay. This includes elements for voluntary overtime, call out and standby payments. The fifty six workers are specific and multi-skilled tradesmen working for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

The members work a standard 37 hour contract with 2 to 4 hours additional contractual overtime. Regional Secretary, Shaun Lee, was delighted with the victory. He said: “We’re very pleased with this victory, not just for the members concerned, but because it may well set a precedent for employment tribunals handling identical cases in the future. These workers were being paid at a higher level than their original contract said, and so their holiday pay should reflect that. It’s logical and that’s how the tribunal saw it.”

Mr Lee added: “We will now be looking to other similar upcoming cases to mirror this victory. Our members are delighted. Each of the 56 working for Dudley Council will receive between £300 and £700 back pay, and of course a higher level of holiday pay going forward. I’d like to thank our solicitors OH Parsons for their sterling work on this case. It could be hugely influential.” A spokesperson for OH Parsons said: “In a possible landmark decision of the Birmingham West Employment Tribunal, Judge Warren accepted submissions from UCATT’s barrister, Jonathan Gidney, that the question was not whether the work was intrinsically linked to the contract but whether it had become normal pay, ie. that which normally received.”

The tribunal judgement will apply to the first 20 days annual leave under the Working Time Regulations.