A move by retail commercial property company Boots to cut its workers’ Sunday pay has been ruled unlawful by a court of law.
Boots reduced Sunday pay for employees who started before 2000 from double time to time-and-a half in June last year. Staff claimed this breached the terms of their contracts, however the company argued that Sunday pay was optional and the commercial property firm was within its rights to cut it.
However, the three-day employment hearing, held at Byron House in Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, has now ruled the move was illegal.
The company could now have to pay out thousands of pounds to employees who claim they lost out.
Three test cases were brought against the firm by the Distribution and Allied Workers, the Union of Shops, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) and Patricia Onuorah, who worked for the commercial property and represented herself.
An announcement from the PDA says workers involved in bringing the claim can expect to be compensated for any losses and have their original rates reinstated. PDA union general secretary, John Murphy, said: “We are delighted that the persistence of our members with support from the union has been vindicated.”
He further added: “Boots will need to reappraise not only its policy of eroding staff’s fundamental contractual rights, but also the way it deals with similar issues in future.”
The PDA union said it took a stand on this issue because it was approached by over 70 members who believed they had been poorly affected by the pay cut.
Laura McDaniel, 44, of Giltbrook was one of those workers who fought the changes to premium pay. She has worked at the Victoria Centre commercial property Boots store for the past 27 years but only worked on Sundays for the past 15-on double pay.
She alleged that she has lost one quarter of her wages ever since the changes came in. She said: “I have effectively been working one Sunday every month for free.
“I’m pleased with the result. We thought all along that what they were doing was unlawful and contractual, so we are really pleased that the judge agreed.”
A spokeswoman for commercial property firm Boots said that the review of premium rates and reward package had been accepted by 99.4 per cent of colleagues and included a company-wide growth in base pay and new bonus scheme for store colleagues.
She added: “Whilst we are disappointed with the decision, we will continue to do what we believe is right to ensure we have our best people in our stores when our customers need them.”
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