Union takes holiday claim to employment tribunal

The workers do housing maintenance
The workers do housing maintenance
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A trade union is taking legal action to support members employed by a troubled contractor, after the company secretly cut holiday pay.

More than 30 Unite members do housing maintenance work for Mears on homes owned by Wigan And Leigh Housing.

They are employed for 40 hours a week, but each job they undertake has a set price and their pay varies from week to week.

The workers have a holiday entitlement of 23 days plus bank holidays - a total of 31 days - but Mears was paying average holiday pay for the 23 days, but not the bank holidays.

For the last Christmas and New Year period, workers booked their holiday as normal and were paid on January 13, 2017.

It was only at this point that they discovered Mears had, without warning or consultation, reduced their holiday pay. They were told the company only had to pay average holiday pay on 20 days.

Unite says the workers lost up to £80 for each day that Mears failed to give the average holiday pay.

Unite regional officer John Sheppard took legal advice and informed the company that as the average holiday pay was based on productivity it had to be paid on all 31 days of holiday.

He also acquired a letter from Mears' director of HR conceding that Mears operatives on a contract in the south of England should be paid average holiday pay on all their holidays , due to their pay varying depending on the work undertaken.

However, after being presented with this evidence and following weeks of delay, the local management in Wigan informed the members they were not aware of the contract in the south of England and would not be changing the policy.

As a result Unite launched a legal case for unpaid holiday pay at an employment tribunal.

Unite regional officer John Sheppard said: “This is yet another example of Mears’ appalling local management, which believes that it can treat workers with absolute disdain and cheat them out of their holiday pay.

“Unite did everything possible to resolve this issue through negotiation but I was met with stalling tactics and arrogance.

“If Unite is successful at the employment tribunal then it will cost Mears a great deal more than it was originally paying.

“I hope that Mears is sufficiently embarrassed by this latest example of the arrogant, bullying and cavalier attitude of its local management and takes urgent remedial action to ensure its workforce is treated fairly, decently and with the respect they deserve.”

The initial hearing for the employment tribunal has been scheduled for December.