Unison wins pay case for fire and rescue staff

Trade union Unison has won a legal case in the Court of Appeal for pay which could affect around 800 employees of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). 

The union challenged the LFEPA’s decision not to honour the third year of an agreed pay deal that would have given fire and rescue staff a 2.5% pay rise in April 2009.  

The claim could be worth hundreds of thousand pounds because the 2.5% pay increase is payable from April 2009 onwards for four years.

The case Ms Anderson and others and Phillips and others versus London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority went to the Court of Appeal in London on 13 March 2013.

The LFEPA tried to use the wording of the agreement of the initial industrial agreement to defend its decision not to award the pay increase.

The court’s decision in favour of the union stated: “In my judgment, it means that in that year the employees would receive an increase of 2.5% or NJC plus 1%, whichever was the greater.

“Looking at the matter objectively, no other meaning made or would have made industrial sense.  No other meaning would have represented a three-year deal which the unions would have contemplated and, objectively, that must have been obvious to the employer”.

Dave Prentis (pictured), general secretary of Unison, said: “When employers make an agreement with Unison we expect them to stick to it.  

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“Trust is an integral part of any negotiations and I am pleased that we have been able to deliver pay justice to our members at the LFEPA.  

“Times are tough for many public service workers without being denied a pay rise that they are entitled to.”