EXCLUSIVE: Unite will not appeal overtime and holiday pay ruling

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Unite will not be appealing the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) judgment ruling that overtime should be included in holiday pay calculations.

Fears had been raised that the trade union (which acted for claimants in the three co-joined cases) would appeal the limitations imposed by the court on retrospective claiming.

However, Unite's decision should ease employers' concerns about the potential for significant numbers of backdated claims from staff.

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The union told WSB that its intention in pursuing the cases was never about bankrupting companies, as it has been accused.

Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn said: "Our intention with this case was never to do it that, we were very much looking to the future.

"We don't want to bankrupt business; going forward it is about ensuring employees are paid their fair share and working with employers to ensure they get their house in order.

"We're beginning to do that, noticeably with the transport sector, so that the arrangements can be put in place in a sensible and fair manner that meet the expectations of the workers, but also so they do not see the company going out of business," he added.

Flynn criticised the hysterical reaction of employer groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Institute of Directors (IoD) and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

And he also questioned why no trade unions had been invited to be a part of the task force set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to assess the impact of the ruling.

"I think there was a degree of hysteria from sections of the business lobby and you see the task force that has been set up by BIS - there isn't one trade union on it," he said.

"We weren't invited on to that task force - it's made up of all the business lobby. So there's a degree of hysteria and that was borne out on the day of the judgment when you had people from the IoD saying the evil unions will bankrupt companies. We explained the ruling, but I think it didn't fit their narrative which they were trying to whip up.

"At the end of the day, if they'd actually read the judgment they would have found out that the task force is a waste of tax payers money to be quite honest," he added.

A BIS spokeswoman defended the membership of the task force, noting that it was explicitly set up to consider the impact on businesses.

"That's not to say that we aren't talking to the unions, we are, it's just this task force is probably the wrong type of forum for that discussion," she said.

"We are talking to unions - so while they are correct in saying that there is no union representation on the task force, it's not correct to suggest that government isn't talking to unions and taking on board their thoughts on the judgement and getting the right balance between employers and employees - that's what we want to achieve.

"This issue is something we speak fairly frequently with both business groups and unions on: for instance the day or the day after the judgement Vince Cable had a meeting with one or two of the unions where it would have been discussed, so we're meeting and talking to these people regularly anyway," she added.

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