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29.10.2020 / News /

Hospitality workers secure two years of unlawfully withheld holiday pay

Twenty-four workers at a well-known London nightlife venue submitted a group employment tribunal claim for two years worth of unpaid holiday pay. Their boss had classified them as ‘self-employed’ and therefore excluded them from basic rights like holiday and sick pay. But the boss conceded before the claim went to tribunal, and our members received two years of backdated pay, the maximum amount payable under law.  

If the claim had gone to tribunal, UVW believes that our members would have been found to be falsely classified as ‘self-employed’. 

Workers at the venue are required to work a minimum number of shifts on a rota system and their work is directed and scrutinised by a management team. This level of control clearly indicates they are ‘workers’ or even ‘employees’ under employment legislation

Because of their ‘self-employed’ status, our members also weren’t eligible for the furlough scheme when Covid-19 began.  

Winning holiday pay is the first step for these members, who are demanding to be brought in-house on proper employment contracts including the London Living Wage and occupational sick pay.  

One of the workplace organisers says, “It took the entirety of the pandemic so far for them to sort out holiday pay. They say they wanted to make sure we got support, but if they meant that, support would have come sooner. I believe the doors will open again, and that we will go back to work, but based on the environment the bosses have created I wouldn’t walk back in there without UVW backing us.” 

“I don’t know what management will be saying when we reopen but our team is the backbone of their business, and they need to treat us with some respect.”

UVW caseworker Cormac Devlin adds that, “While this settlement will provide our members with a much-needed cash injection during a difficult time for workers in the hospitality sector, winning their accrued holiday pay is just the first step for this group of workers. This victory provides a solid foundation to demand contracts which reflect their true employment status and an increase to their pay.” 

UVW committee member and organiser Franck Magennis says, “Covid-19 has thrown up challenges to worker organising, but if you band together and are willing to press your employer, you are able to extract concessions. This is money in workers’ pockets that they got through acting collectively. Well timed legal action can show bosses you are ready to take action and help with future organising efforts.”

If you are a hospitality worker who is unhappy with your work conditions or employment status, join UVW now and start organising!

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