Unite members secure £1.2m compensation04 June 2007
Unite, Northern Ireland's largest Union, has secured £1.2 million for union members at Bombardier Shorts aircraft factories who continued to lose holiday pay after the firm changed the way it calculated holiday entitlement.
The deal ends a long running battle for compensation for over 2,000 Unite (Amicus section) members after an industrial tribunal ruled in 2001 that Bombardier Shorts had, since 1995, been underpaying its workers due to the change in the way it calculated holiday pay entitlement.
An undertaking by Bombardier Shorts to the union that they would implement the 2001 tribunal decision for all pre-1995 employees was reneged upon by the company and despite this matter being raised regularly by Unite the company failed to address it and workers continued to lose money.
The union instructed their lawyers Thompsons McClure to issue a case in the High Court against Shorts for breach of contract which resulted in the firm finally agreeing to negotiate with the union to settle the members' claims.
Unite (Amicus section) Regional Secretary, Peter Williamson, said:
"The failure of Bombardier Shorts to fulfil its commitment to righting the losses after the 2001 tribunal decision meant that our members continued to lose holiday pay entitlement. As a result the average payout the company must now make is £600. Some employees will receive significantly more.
"While we are extremely pleased that the issue has finally been resolved, it is a pity that the employer did not see fit to settle it immediately after the tribunal ruling. If it had then our members would not have continued to lose money that was rightfully theirs' and the company itself would not have to pay both their and the unions legal costs."
John O'Neill of Thompsons McClure, who represented the Amicus section members, said:
"This case demonstrates how the courts can be used to ensure that that employers do not disregard the rights of union members. It was only because of the pressure exerted by these High Court proceedings that the company finally ended six years of prevarication and paid Unite members the money that they were clearly owed."