Over the past month a number of important cases have been heard at employment courts and the outcome has been favourable for workers throughout the UK.
Wednesday 12th July 2017
Equalisation of Pension Rights
A Supreme Court ruling found the exemption written in to the Equality Act 2010 excluding same-sex partners from spousal benefits is discriminatory. Before this ruling the Equality Act allowed for pension accrued before December 2005 to exclude same-sex partners from spousal benefits.
Employment Tribunal Fees – Supreme Court Judgement
Following a legal challenge by our sister trade union Unison, the Supreme Court has ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful because they price workers out of accessing justice and discriminate against women. This means that from the 26th July, employment tribunal fees no longer apply and that all previous fees that have been paid will have to be repaid.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “The Supreme Court decision on employment tribunal fees is a victory for common sense and the basic right of working people to access justice in our legal system. “Rights are no rights at all if you can’t afford to enforce them.”
Friday 28th July 2017
Consultation Rights – Court Of Appeal Ruling
A landmark decision that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace has been ruled.
The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.
Until now, unions only had the right to be consulted where the law required this, for example in TUPE regulations where employees transfer from one employer to another, and in redundancy cases.
The ruling means employers will also have to involve unions in issues such as those around working hours and holiday pay.
Thursday 3rd August 2017
Calculating holiday pay – Voluntary Overtime Employment Tribunal Ruling
A case at EAT has ruled that normal voluntary overtime should be treated as ‘normal remuneration’ for the purposes of calculating holiday pay.
The Respondents were Quick Response Operatives working for a local authority. They were electricians, plumbers, roofers and similar who, as well as working day jobs, also worked entirely voluntary overtime which paid additional standby and callout allowances.
The employer asserted that overtime payments were not ‘normal remuneration’ because they lacked an intrinsic link to the performance of tasks required under the employment contract.
The EAT rejected this narrow interpretation. To exclude such payments from holiday pay results in a financial disadvantage to workers which deters or might deter the taking of annual leave which is a pillar of EU social law. The EAT also found a clear link between the payments and the performance of their duties because when they were working the overtime the operatives were performing the same tasks as under their contracts.
Holiday pay must correspond to normal remuneration. Put simply, ‘normal pay’ is that which is normally received. Normal means paid over a sufficient period of time. What would the worker have earned if they had not taken leave?
These victories are an important step to ensuring that workers are not only protected at work but also have the means to enact their right to justice.
It is also proves that now more than ever it is so important to join a union.