United Voices of the World’s (UVW) application to the Court of Appeal in our claim against the Royal Parks (RP) has just been given permission to be heard on the basis that it has “a real prospect of success”! This is a major development in our battle to prove that outsourcing mainly Black, brown and migrant workers on inferior pay to mainly white in-house workers is race discrimination as the Court of Appeal is the second highest court in the UK and highest court in England and Wales. If a small union of low-paid, precarious and migrant workers wins this argument for the second time in court against a powerful charity that has government backing, our world could change forever.
In November 2021, we had a major legal victory against the RP in the Employment Tribunal (ET). Our win established that the charity’s policy to consciously choose to NOT pay their outsourced mainly Black and brown cleaners & attendants the London Living Wage (LLW), while guaranteeing it to their mainly white in-house employees, amounted to indirect race discrimination. The government, who are responsible for RP, were so threatened by our victory, they decided to intervene in the legal appeal process – to , they said, avoid a proliferation of ‘copycat’ claims against discriminatory outsourcing. But their attempt to exert political pressure on the judiciary failed and their application to intervene in the legal case was rejected.
However, having been successful at ET level, we lost the Royal Park’s appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in May 2023, on a technical point.
Now, the Court of Appeal has admitted our own appeal against the EAT’s overturning because in the view of Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Bean “The proposed appeal has in my view a real prospect of success.” Also good news is the fact that the court took into account UVW is a ‘very small trade union’ so costs will be limited to a modest amount to ‘facilitate access to justice.”
Petros Elia, general secretary of UVW, welcomed the news, saying: ”This is a highly political case that could ring the death knell of outsourcing as we know it and redistribute billions of pounds to low paid workers across the country! We can expect a battle all the way to the Supreme Court (the final court of appeal in the UK) no matter who wins this third round, and we in UVW are ready for it, because if we win, everybody wins. A small union of migrants and low-paid,precarious workers could have changed our world for good.”
Other groups of UVW outsourced workers, in poorer pay and conditions than directly employed ones – including a group claim by 80 formerly outsourced cleaners at Great Ormond Street Hospital – are currently arguing the same through the courts.
You can read previous and related stories here:
Our 2021 watershed legal victory here >>
The ETA ruling and our appeal:
The latest from our GOSH court case here >>
There’s no date in sight yet for the CA’s appeal hearing, so keep your eyes peeled for updates here.