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12.06.2020 / News / Press releases /

London’s Royal Parks attendants sue for over 150 years of underpaid and untaken annual leave

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • 20 of London’s Royal Parks attendants are suing the French multinational VINCI for unlawfully denying them annual leave.
  • The annual leave denied totals nearly 1000 days spread across a combined service of 150 years and has a value of upwards of £70,000
  • All the park attendants are migrant and/or black or from an ethnic minority and are also suing the Royal Parks in a landmark legal challenge claiming that outsourcing on inferior pay amounts to race discrimination
  • The park attendants won the London Living Wage through a high profile strike in 2019 through their trade union United Voices of the World

Around twenty of London’s Royal Park attendants who are outsourced to a French multinational company VINCI appeared in court this week for the first stage of their legal claim alleging that they have been unlawfully denied their full entitlement to 28 days annual leave per year.

The workers have 150 years service between them and some of them have been working for over 20 years whilst only been permitted to take 8 days instead of the legal minimum of 28 days for full time workers. Other park attendants were permitted their full entitlement but were only paid at their contractual rate of pay rather than their actual rate of pay which is unlawful. The claim is based on entitlements found in the Working Times Regulations 1998.

These same park attendants recently won the London Living Wage through strike action in autumn of 2019, where they won a pay rise from the then minimum wage of £8.21 per hour to the London Living Wage of £10.75, with the rise equating to a 31% increase, and an extra £5000 per year per worker.

Members at Royal Parks are migrant, majority BAME workers and are also involved in UVW’s legal case against outsourcing. The case will also begin proceedings this month, and argues that the inferior pay and terms and conditions for outsourced black and minority ethnic workers amounts to indirect race discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

One Royal Parks attendant said, “VINCI are a thieving company, any way they can they will find a way to steal from the little people. Whether it is annual leave, or your wages, you always seem to be missing money somewhere or another. We hope this legal case will show everyone what VINCI is really like, and get us the money we are owed.”

Richard O’Keeffe, Head of Legal Services at United Voices of the World (UVW) said, “It is not in dispute that Vinci have denied our members their full annual leave entitlement and have dramatically underpaid them whenever they did take leave over many years. We urge Vinci to pay our members what they are owed instead of paying expensive lawyers to take procedural points and generate delay as they have over the past six months. These are issues regarding terms and conditions over which our members have not ruled out industrial action.”

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Notes to editors

Legal action against outsourcing

United Voices of the World intends to take legal action against the Royal Parks at an Employment Tribunal. The case will argue that outsourcing BAME and other workers with protected characteristics onto inferior pay and terms and conditions of employment amounts to indirect racial discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. The case is a landmark legal case and has the potential to benefit the UK’s 3.3 million outsourced workers. The union is also in the process of bringing the same case against the Ministry of Justice and several other employers.

For quotes and information contact

Petros Elia, UVW Organiser, email: petros@uvwunion.org.uk tel. 07884 553443

Molly de Dios Fisher, UVW Organiser, email: molly@uvwunion.org.uk tel. 07900 002671

Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Editorial Lead, email: gabrielle@uvwunion.org.uk tel. 07761 542653

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