The GMB union has called on a borough council to implement a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling on overtime and holiday pay, ahead of a planned demonstration by refuse workers on Friday (24 April).
The union said if negotiations were not successful, members would want its regional committee to give permission for a ballot for industrial action.
The EAT handed down the ruling in Bear Scotland in December 2014. The tribunal agreed with a submission by the claimants, who were supported by the Unite union, that compulsory, non-guaranteed overtime should be included as ‘normal pay’ for the purpose of calculating holiday pay.
Frank Minal, GMB Regional Organiser, said staff who worked for Reigate and Banstead’s refuse department submitted a collective grievance earlier this year in light of the EAT decision.
The union had also submitted a proposal that staff move to a five-day working week rather than the current four days with one rest day and receive parity of holiday entitlement with other workers in the council.
“Refuse staff feel aggrieved because workers who have a four day contract are obliged to work their rest day week in week out,” Minal said.
The GMB regional organiser claimed that Reigate and Banstead had been “slow to react to requests for average holiday pay, citing that they are waiting for the national review body to suggest the amount of award that needs to be given back dated”.
He also claimed that on the issue of moving to five-day working, the council had suggested this would cost too much.
Minal said: “Instead of simply kicking this legal issue into the long grass, holiday pay should already been re-calculated to include the additional hours that GMB members are working on a weekly basis in light of the EAT December 2014 decision.
“I don't think that a responsible local authority like Reigate and Banstead should simply flout laws. They should initiate the holiday pay calculation with immediate effect; if they want to argue regarding the back pay that's a completely different issue which will be determined nationally.”
Frank Etheridge, Reigate & Banstead’s Streetscene Manager, said: “Our discussions with staff representatives are ongoing with our next meeting scheduled for Wednesday 22 April where we hope to make progress on this issue.”
See also: Overtime and annual leave – Allison Cook’s February 2015 review of the key developments in relation to pay when an employee is on annual leave, including the Bear Scotland ruling and prospective Government guidance.