TRADESMEN working for Dudley Council have secured the right to be paid holiday at the level of pay they usually earned – not just at their contractual pay level.

The 56 workers, including plumbers, electricians and carpenters, worked extra voluntary shifts on a regular basis, as part of a normal weekly and monthly work pattern.

In addition to volunteering to work on the council’s stock of social housing on Saturdays, they also elected to go on standby every four weeks, to deal with emergency call-outs and repairs.

Workers relied on the overtime payments, which saw many receiving an extra £725 for the week they were on standby, to make up their pay packets, according to Jonathan Gidney, barrister for construction union UCATT.

At Midlands (West) Employment Tribunal, Judge Warren accepted these voluntary shifts were carried out week-on-week, as a regular part of the job.

He said the pay received for the extra shifts was the workers’ usual wage level and should be reflected in their holiday pay.

This included elements for voluntary overtime, call out and standby payments.

UCATT'S regional secretary, Shaun Lee, said he was delighted with the result: “We’re very pleased with this victory, not just for the members concerned, but because it may well set a precedent for employment tribunals handling identical cases in the future.

"These workers were being paid at a higher level than their original contract said, and so their holiday pay should reflect that.

"It’s logical and that’s how the tribunal saw it.”

Mr Lee added: “We will now be looking to other similar upcoming cases to mirror this victory. Our members are delighted. Each of the 56 working for Dudley Council will receive between £300 and £700 back pay, and of course a higher level of holiday pay going forward.

The tribunal judgement will apply to the first 20 days annual leave under the Working Time Regulations.

Philip Tart, strategic director for resources and transformation at Dudley Council, said: “Following the hearing last week we will be looking at the legal implications of the decision over the next few weeks.”