Around 30 estates workers employed by the University of Dundee have received a total £16,500 reimbursement of unpaid holiday pay.
The disputed holiday payments arose following the ruling in Bear Scotland Limited Hertel (UK) Limited and Amec Group Limited v Fulton Woods, Law and Others, which ruled in 2014 that regularly worked overtime and other regular payments must be included in holiday pay calculations.
The roles in question, which included joiners, plumbers and electricians, contractually include overtime and time on call. As a result, the staff received up to £1,000 each.
Trade Union Unite claimed that it had to threaten legal action in order to ensure the payment was honoured; however, a spokesperson for the university told Benefits Expert that the issue was being progressed before this point.
The spokesperson added: “Once the issue had been identified we were happy to work with Unite to resolve it – before any threat of legal action had been raised – and ensure due payment was made to our staff. A procedure has now been agreed and any arrears due to staff have been paid.”
Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, 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.”
Susan Robertson, industrial officer at Unite, added: “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.”
The resolution to this issue comes at a time when non-teaching staff at universities across the UK have commenced strike action in a dispute over pay.
In addition, Unite has been involved in a long-running pension dispute, following the University of Dundee’s decision in March 2021 to propose the closure of its defined benefits (DB) scheme, to be replaced with a defined contribution (DC) scheme. The union argued that this would cause the lowest paid workers to lose compensation.