“We should not be afraid to fight for our rights. If our employer breaches our contract, whether through a genuine mistake or not, or exploits us in some other way, we must fight back. The union will always back us up if we need help,”Cleaner and UVW member
A cleaner and UVW member has been awarded over £5,000 for unpaid holiday pay over four years of service, after formally complaining to his employer about this serious irregularity.
Our member sought advice and assistance from the union as a first step in bringing the initial claim but once informed of his rights and feeling supported by UVW he continued to handle the claim on his own, emailing his bosses (copying in the union) and attending a video conference with them without union representation.
Our member realised that something wasn’t right when he checked his last pay slip: instead of receiving holiday pay equivalent to an average working day of 12 hours, which is what he was doing, he had been paid the equivalent of eight hours a day. When he checked all his pay slips for the previous four years, he saw that this had always been the case. The company argued it was a mistake as they had assumed that he was working an average of eight hours a day given that his contract did not stipulate concrete hours but a variable schedule. Within a few days they rectified and paid him what he was owed.
“We should not be afraid to fight for our rights. If our employer breaches our contract, whether through a genuine mistake or not, or exploits us in some other way, we must fight back. The union will always back us up if we need help,” says our member, who wishes to remain anonymous and describes himself as a fervent trade unionist.
UVW is pleased to have helped him not only to get this payment, which he has put towards a motorcycle, but also to have given him the confidence and knowledge to negotiate with his employers until victory.
After sharing his experience and knowledge with his colleagues, they are now also reviewing their payslips and contracts and asking him for advice on employment issues, which he is happy to give as much as he can. “They call me with questions and I try to give them advice. You have to check your payments and make sure that what you are being paid is correct… Also about pensions etc etc I have become a bit of a representative for them, informally,” he says.
Victory for one is victory for all!
If you have a problem at work, talk to your fellow UVW members at work as a first step. Find out if there are other members in the same situation and organise collectively to fight for your rights. Sometimes a simple conversation with a unionised colleague can completely change your life.
If you get stuck and need help or support or advice on how to organise in your workplace, contact UVW here.