Estates workers to receive thousands of pounds in unpaid holiday pay

Unite the union can reveal today (9 February) that around 30 estates workers at the University of Dundee have been paid thousands in a dispute over unpaid holiday pay.

Despite representations made to the University of Dundee it was only after the threat of legal action by Unite which resulted in the workers receiving approximately £16,500 in total.

Some estates workers including joiners, plumbers and electricians will receive up to £1,000. This group of workers contractually do overtime regularly and are on call.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “The strength of our membership ensured that the University of Dundee paid out what our members were owed in unpaid holiday pay. It’s a classic example of workers showing resolve along with the importance of being a member of a trade union. Unite does what it says on the tin, we deliver better jobs, pay and conditions for our members.”

 Bear Scotland Limited Hertel (UK) Limited and Amec Group Limited v Fulton Woods, Law and Others 2014 ruling confirmed that regularly worked overtime and other regular payments must be included when calculating holiday pay.

Susan Robertson, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite should not have had to threaten the University of Dundee with legal action in order to get them to comply with the law. It’s a poor state of affairs that our members have been forced to fight for what is rightfully theirs. However, it’s a testament to collective power and by standing together they have held this employer once again to account.”

Unite has also been in a long running pensions dispute with the University of Dundee. The dispute stems from the University’s decision in March 2021 to propose the closure of the Defined Benefits Scheme and replace it with a Defined Contribution Scheme. 

The University then changed their original proposal following strike action by Unite Members in October, 2022 and they remain within a Defined Benefits Scheme. New members of the pension scheme will automatically go into a Defined Contribution Scheme.