The 59 PCS members will share £29,500 after the Welsh Assembly Government agreed to pay the members £500 each in compensation. The members had had their entitlement to private health insurance removed in December 2004.

The decision came after a test case was lodged in employment tribunal by the PCS’ lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors.

The PCS members originally worked for four Training and Enterprise Councils, which were replaced by the National Council for Education and Training (ELWa) in April 2001. All the members transferred to ELWa on the 1st April 2001. A few years later ELWa removed their entitlement to private health insurance as part of a harmonisation of working conditions.

The members later transferred to the Welsh Assembly Government in 2006, which inherited legal responsibility for the removal of the perk.

Since 2004 the PCS has been involved in protracted negotiations on behalf of its members and in 2007 decided to take legal action.

Thompsons lodged a claim for the determination of particulars of employment on behalf of one of the members.

The Welsh Assembly settled the claim out of court and went onto settle claims for the 58 other members.

The member said: “This battle has never been about the money. It was the principle that a condition we’d had as part of our contract of employment was suddenly removed without any warning.

“I had personal experience of using the entitlement so feel the effects of losing the benefit.”

“I’m pleased this issue has now been settled but I feel disappointed the Welsh Assembly has had to pay out because ELWa refused to settle this dispute before we were transferred to another organisation.”

Peter Harris, National Secretary for Wales from the PCS said: “Our members have been extremely patient in waiting for this matter to come to a close. ELWa refused to recognise that it should have offered remuneration to its transferred employees for the removal of their entitlement to private healthcare”.

Rebecca Spence from Thompsons Solicitors added: “While the Welsh Assembly wasn’t responsible for the initial removal of the entitlement to private healthcare it inherited the problem when ELWa employees were transferred across in 2006. The settlement was a culmination of the test case and continual and tireless negotiations by PCS on behalf of its members and represents an appropriate financial settlement and justice for those members.”