SBHA’s pay fight with union

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UP TO 20 Scottish Borders Housing Association workers are taking the Selkirk-based social landlord to an employment tribunal over short holiday pay, writes Kenny Paterson.

Lawyers on behalf of the Unite union lodged papers this week for between 18 and 20 tradesmen, which if won could cost the Whinfield Road charity up to £16,000.

TheSouthern understands that each worker involved in the claim is seeking between £500 and £800 they believe they are due from unpaid holiday entitlements over a three-year period.

The claim follows a ruling last month by the UK Supreme Court that holiday pay for British airline pilots must include all elements of a pilot’s salary, and not just basic pay.

In the case of the SBHA claimants, they argue that a £100 fee received for being on stand-by every six weeks has never been calculated into holiday pay time.

Unite’s Scottish senior officer Tony Trench told us: “We have tried for 12 months to get the company to pay, but they have categorically refused.

“It has been forced upon us to now go to a tribunal.”

An SBHA spokesperson said: “A case was considered nationally this year involving the calculation of holiday pay for airline pilots.

“A judgement on the national case has recently been issued, and SBHA understands that Unite has lodged its claim based on this case with an industrial tribunal.

“SBHA has now sought legal advice on the implications of this judgement.

“SBHA has not at this time received any contact from the tribunal.”

TheSouthern also understands that line managers at SBHA who were also on stand-by could also be added to the claim.

SBHA and union officials have clashed already this year, after tradesmen threatened to walk out in February over the treatment of an electrician who was suspended just weeks before his retirement.

On that occasion, the 65-year-old from Galashiels, who was suspended following an incident at a property in Denholm, was reinstated six hours later after talks between Unite and SBHA’s management.