Unite members at Rosyth Dockyard have won a pay claim that could result in a compensation bill as high as £1.5 million for operator Babcock.
Twenty-seven former workers at the Fife shipyard challenged the calculation of the redundancy payments from Rosyth Royal Dockyard at an employment tribunal.
They were part of a successful joint claim by trade unions Unite, GMB and Prospect involving 48 workers who were made redundant at the shipyard.
The members worked at Rosyth Royal Dockyard and were made redundant in 2019.
Unite says the company’s redundancy policy provided for an additional enhancement to the redundancy pay at the rate of one day’s pay for every six months of service.
A dispute arose between the workers and employer Babcock over the correct calculation of the amount of a day’s pay.
Workers at Royth Dockyard win pay claim
Employment judge Russell Bradley found Babcock had breached its contract with the 27 workers and was ordered to pay compensation.
Unite, GMB and Prospect trade unions were successful in arguing that the calculation should be based on the current daily hours, which would be 9.25 hours per day for a four-day week.
The employment tribunal found that Rosyth Royal Dockyard had failed to apply a “reasonable, notorious and uniform” method for calculation and was in breach of contract.
The tribunal ordered compensation to members of the three unions totalling about £128,000.
Bill could hit £1.5 million, Unite says
Unite says those who were made redundant and who were not part of the claim will also be eligible for payments dating back five years, which could involve up to 400 people.
Those workers on site will also be eligible for the payment if made redundant in the future.
It is estimated that total cost of the payments could cost the Ministry of Defence, which will underwrite the payments, up to £1.5 million.
Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, said: “On behalf on the 27 Unite members who brought forward this case we are delighted that we’ve achieved a positive resolution on behalf of our members.
“The facts are that Rosyth Dockyard treated workers unfairly and they will now have to pay the costs associated with this botched process.
“The employment tribunal ruling affirms that those workers who have left the company and not part of the claim are also legally entitled to payments because it was a contractual breach.
“Up to 400 workers could benefit from the decision and it could ultimately cost £1.5m.
“The decision highlights the value of trade unions in supporting members and securing just outcomes, but also that employers will be held to account.”
Alex Rowley, the Scottish Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, says the decision shows the value of being a trade union member.
All workers have rights and where an employer breaches those rights it is important that there is support for the workers
He said: “All workers have rights and where an employer breaches those rights it is important that there is support for the workers.
“This case demonstrates the strength of being a member of a trade union and the level of protection that comes with a union when it comes to terms and conditions and rights.”
Babcock says it is “surprised” by the decision.
A spokesman said: “We have been notified by Employment Tribunals (Scotland) that the claims relating to legacy enhanced redundancy payments at Rosyth have been successful.
“We are surprised by this judgement, however we acknowledge it and have since settled these payments with the relevant parties.”