Unite secures ground breaking tribunal victory over holiday pay
04 November 2014
Unite members, who have been short changed by over a half of their holiday pay, have won a groundbreaking employment appeal tribunal today (Tuesday 4 November), which means all UK employers now need to include overtime pay when calculating workers’ holiday pay.
The case brought by Britain’s largest union, Unite against Amec and Hertel could lead to pay outs worth thousands of pounds and paves the way for similar cases after the appeal tribunal ruled that people obliged to work overtime should have overtime pay and other bonuses and allowances included in their holiday pay.
The 16 Unite members, a mix of electricians, scaffolders and semi-skilled operatives, worked on a project at the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire until it came to an end in 2012.
During that time they were consistently required to work overtime and received payments for travel time. Payments for that work were not included in holiday pay, meaning that the workers received considerably less pay when on holiday, compared to when they were working.
The appeal tribunal ruling follows an appeal by Amec and Hertel over an earlier Employment Tribunal decision in February which found in favour of the workers and recent decisions by the European Court that workers should receive normal pay when on holiday.
Unite executive director for legal, membership and affiliated services Howard Beckett said: “Up until now some workers who are required to do overtime have been penalised for taking the time off they are entitled to. This ruling not only secures justice for our members who were short changed, but means employers have got to get their house in order.
“Employers will now have to include overtime in calculating holiday pay, and those that don’t should be under no illusion that Unite will fight to ensure that our members receive their full entitlement.
“Once again Unite legal services is leading the challenge to employers and demonstrating to all workers that to receive justice in the workplace you must be in a trade union.
“Unite would like to place on record our thanks to Alys Cunningham of Thompsons Solicitors for the advice and representation given to our members in this matter. Thompsons stand shoulder to shoulder with the trade union movement and have once again shown themselves to be experts in their field.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Further background to the case
The law in the UK relating to overtime payments forming part of holiday pay has been strongly against workers since 2004 when the courts, in the case of Bamsey v Albon Engineering and Manufacturing Plc  IRLR457, held that overtime pay should only be included in workers’ holiday pay if the employer was required to give the workers overtime. In reality this is often not the case and, whilst many workers’ contracts require them to work overtime if the employer wants them to, this usually does not work both ways, and employers are not normally required to give workers overtime.
From 2004 until now, this had meant that if workers were obliged to work overtime they didn’t get the pay for that overtime included in their holiday pay and instead received their basic pay only. For some workers this meant they received less than half their normal pay when they were on holiday.
The employment appeal tribunal in Hertel (UK) Ltd v Mr Wood & Others UKEAT/0160/14/SM; and Amec Group Ltd v Mr Law & Others UKEAT/0161/14/SM confirmed their decision relating to this in the case.
The appeal tribunal has ruled that the decision in the Bamsey case was wrong and where workers are regularly required to work overtime, the overtime pay should be included in their holiday pay under European Law.
About Unite and Thompsons
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.
• Unite Legal services acts on behalf of over 16,000 members every year and last year recovered over £100 million in compensation for members.
• To join Unite, please contact a regional office or visit www.unitetheunion.org
• Thompsons Solicitors has been standing up for the injured and mistreated since 1921. Thompsons has fought for millions of people, won countless landmark cases and secured key legal reforms.