Court of Appeal pay victory for Nottingham City Council employees

Nottingham City Council was wrong to deny several hundred of its employees the right to incremental pay increases with effect from April 2011, says a judgment handed down at the Court of Appeal.

The local authority workers, backed by their union UNISON, successfully challenged the Council’s 2011 decision to stop them receiving pay rises as they moved up salary scales linked to their jobs.

The case, which has been running since July 2013, saw the East Midlands council staff initially take their case to an employment tribunal in Nottingham.

UNISON claimed the City Council was guilty of the unlawful deduction of wages because staff had a contractual right to incremental wage progression, and therefore the pay freeze was a breach of contract.

The case was heard in 2015, but the workers’ claims were dismissed. UNISON, working with Thompsons Solicitors, appealed the decision at an employment appeal tribunal. The Council then appealed against the judgment and the case went to the Court of Appeal.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The judges have found unanimously in favour of the council employees. Nottingham City Council was completely in the wrong to try to prevent its staff from getting the pay rises they were due.

“In any organisation, where salary scales are linked to jobs, employees’ contracts of employment state that each year, as they gain more experience and move up a point, their wages should increase.

“While there’s much sympathy for cash-strapped councils struggling to provide services for local communities, while the government is slashing their funding, Nottingham shouldn’t have been making its employees pay the price. Now staff can look forward to receiving all the cash they are owed.”

Thompsons employment rights solicitor Claire Horne said: “This represents a significant win for those employees who were at the receiving end of austerity measures for a number of years.”

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