12 GMB members win Employment Tribunal claim against Brighton Council
12 GMB members have won an employment tribunal claim against Brighton and Hove city council.
The reality of this case is that these workers are already on a low wage and struggling to make ends meet and further cuts to terms and conditions can have devastating consequences says GMB Southern
GMB members, all working for the Brighton & Hove Council’s Royal Pavilion and Museums Information and Security Team at the time, have won their claim for unlawful deductions from wages.
Following a re-organisation in 2013, the members lost a shift allowance or were given a lower paid post or both. However, their pay was not to be reduced during a pay protection period, which was stated to be from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017.
However, a year early, in May 2016, the Council stated that the reference to 31 March 2017 was a clerical error, that pay protection was limited to 3 years and the enhanced pay was stopped without warning.
Following a hearing in January, the Employment Tribunal, sitting in Brighton, has upheld the employees’ claims and held that the contractual period was absolutely clear and that there was no ambiguity about it – the protected pay period was expressed simply to be from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2017. The Tribunal further held that the employees, who are all low paid employees of a large Council, were entitled to assume that the formal documentation issued by the Council as their employer was correct. The Tribunal accordingly ruled that the failure to pay the employees the protected pay was an unlawful deduction from wages and the Council must now pay back pay.
Nicholas Kay, one of the affected employees and GMB representative, acted as lead claimant on behalf of all 12 employees said,
“The other employees and I are all very pleased with the outcome of this case. I would like to thank GMB because none of this would have happened without their support.”
Gary Palmer, Organiser of GMB Southern Region, said,
“The reality of this case is that these workers are already on a low wage and struggling to make ends meet and further cuts to terms and conditions can have devastating consequences. A court case involving 12 employees against a Council is no little matter but GMB will always seek to protect members’ interests in the workplace and this case shows the importance of being a member of GMB.”
Charles Harrity, Senior Organiser of GMB Southern Region, said,
“This is a shocking example of the Council’s austerity drive. Time and time again we are seeing that it is the low paid workers who are being targeted. On the one hand the Council says that it has no money to provide fair terms and conditions for employees and yet, as this case shows, the Council will not hesitate to spend thousands in legal fees in trying to justify its actions.”
Contact: Gary Palmer on 07552 165 950 or email Gary.Palmer@gmb.org.uk or Charles Harrity on 07977 518 042 or email Charles.Harrity@gmb.org.uk