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WORKERS will fight a legal battle in the Supreme Court to win £420,000 in compensation after being subjected to “unlawful inducements” by their employers, general union Unite said today.
In 2015, 700 workers at Kostal UK Ltd which manufactures electric systems for vehicles at a factory near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, voted to be represented by Unite.
The workers rejected a company wage increase and changes to their terms and conditions.
But bosses ignored the workers’ vote and attempted to sidestep the union by approaching employees directly after they rejected the proposals.
Workers who refused individually to sign new contracts on wages and conditions were told they would lose a £270 Christmas bonus, according to Unite.
Workers who still refused to sign were then threatened with the sack.
In February 2017 Unite took a case to an employment tribunal, claiming that the company had acted unlawfully and sought compensation for 55 victimised workers.
The union won and the tribunal ordered Kostal to pay the workers compensation. And the company took the case to the employment appeals tribunal, where the union won again.
Employers then took the case to the Court of Appeal, which ruled against the union.
The case is now being taken to Britain’s highest court, the Supreme Court, by Unite. The court has given Unite leave to appeal.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “We are delighted that the Supreme Court has allowed Unite’s appeal against the extremely disappointing Court of Appeal’s decision last summer to overturn the previous rulings of an employment appeal tribunal and employment tribunal.
“This is a case which goes right to the heart of trade union recognition and the right to collectively bargain. It is one that we will continue to pursue to protect trade union rights and to get justice for our members.”
He added that the company had attempted to “break the union and divide members” when the workers rejected the new contracts by threatening to withhold bonuses and then by threatening workers with the sack.
No date has yet been announced for the start of the hearing before the Supreme Court.
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