Rosyth members win Employment Tribunal over “what is a day’s pay?”

26 August 2021

Prospect members at Rosyth Royal Dockyard have won a tribunal claim over the calculation of redundancy payments and will each receive additional compensation, on average, of £3,400.

The members were made redundant in 2018 and 2019. The company’s redundancy policy provided for an additional enhancement to the redundancy pay at the rate of one day’s pay for every six months of service.

A dispute arose over the correct calculation of the amount of a ‘day’s pay’. The case was brought jointly with GMB & Unite.

The company argued the number of hours in a day should be assessed based on the working hours at the time the collective agreement was reached in 1997, which was 7.4 hours for a five-day week.

Whereas the unions believed that the calculation should be based on the current daily hours, which would be 9.25 hours per day for a four-day week.

Prospect pursued this through four stages of internal dispute and ACAS Early Conciliation, however the employer refused to meaningfully engage and maintained their position throughout.

Employment Tribunal

The unions presented tribunal claims on behalf of 48 members in February 2020. Prospect members were represented by Michael Briggs, of Thompsons Solicitors Scotland.

The tribunal hearing on 18 and 19 May 2021 had to decide whether there was a static or dynamic interpretation of “a day’s pay” (ie based on the 1997 rates, or the current rates). The ET ruled in favour of the unions.

The ET found that the employer had failed to apply a “reasonable, notorious and uniform” method for calculation and were in breach of contract. The tribunal ordered total compensation to members of the three unions of over £120,000.

Jane Rose, Negotiations Officer, for Prospect, who took the case through the internal procedures, said: “I am delighted that, after a long campaign, we’ve achieved a positive resolution on behalf of our members ensuring they will receive their fair entitlement following redundancy.

“The ruling underlines the value of trade unions in supporting members and securing just outcomes. It also provides clarity and protection on redundancy rights for Prospect members at Rosyth going forward.”

Alistair Riddoch one of the Prospect members included in the claim added: “This is fantastic news after such a long fight. I’d like to thank Prospect for pursuing the case on our behalf, a great example of the benefit of trade union membership.”

Prospect Legal Officer, Jane Copley said: “We are pleased to have finally brought this long-disputed matter to a conclusion. The legal challenges in establishing what is a day’s pay have been complex and a ruling that supports the unions’ position is welcomed.”

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