LTB 587/14 Working Time Directive Holiday Pay

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General Secretary: Billy Hayes (

Letter to Branches






No: 587/14 Ref: 60000 23rd September 2014



To: All Branches with Postal Members





Dear Colleague




In recent months the Union has been monitoring the developing legal situation on how holiday pay should be calculated in line with the Working Time Directive.


This involves three very significant Employment Tribunal cases in non CWU companies which have cast doubt over how an employer is required to calculate holiday pay under the European Working Time Directive. A previous decision that has stood since 2004, held that adhoc overtime did not need to be included in the calculation. However, this has now been contradicted both directly and indirectly in recent cases and the ET decisions in the three aforementioned cases have ruled that ad hoc overtime should now be included.


Although these ET decisions are not yet binding, the legal advice received from our lawyers suggests that ultimately, this is likely, though not certain, to be confirmed as the correct interpretation of this particular Working Time Directive.


These decisions could have very significant implications and may mean that for any holiday taken since 1998, current Royal Mail employees may have a legitimate legal claim against the company to up to four weeks worth of overtime payments (the directive only covers a four week holiday period) each year. A further issue that needs to be resolved legally is what reference period should be used for how any entitlement should be calculated.


As you can imagine employers across the UK have been strongly lobbying against this interpretation of the directive and the CBI are claiming that this would have a major detrimental effect on the ability of British companies to remain competitive.





The current position is that two of these recent ET decisions are being appealed against by employers and these appeals are pending. Additionally, a third case brought by a transport employee has been settled outside of the tribunal and we are trying to establish the basis of this settlement.


The whole subject matter is a very live issue and we can confirm that CWU has now lodged a formal claim for both future entitlements and back pay with the Royal Mail Group on behalf of all CWU members working for the company.


Following initial discussions with Royal Mail under the auspices of Bobby Weatherall PEC Member, who has been diligently following developments for the Union, we have now arranged a meeting with the company’s senior management team to discuss the basis of our claim and try to reach a settlement. Additionally, we are continuing to discuss with our lawyers the best way to protect the legal position of CWU Members, if necessary through the Employment Tribunal.


Further information will be sent out in the near future following our next meeting with the company. In the meantime, it is important that all CWU branches and representatives circulate the content of this LTB and convey the Union’s position to our members in all work places.


Any enquiries on the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS(P) Department, quoting reference 60000.


Yours sincerely                                                 



Dave Ward                                                

Deputy General Secretary (P)                  

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