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Industrial Unite wins £250,000 in back pay for construction workers

MORE than 150 construction workers who helped build three high-profile projects in London have won a quarter of a million in backdated holiday pay after their bosses were forced to cough up.

The collective cash bonanza was secured for builders working at Westfield shopping centre in White City, the International Quarter in Stratford and 100 Bishopsgate near the edge of the City of London.

Their boss, Byrne Bros, gave them holiday pay based on a 39-hour week despite workers having to do overtime on Saturdays which often pushed their hours up to around 55 a week.

The dispute escalated into a collective grievance after management ignored workers when they first raised the issue.

Now Byrne Bros has been forced to pay workers between £400 and £1,000 each, totalling £250,000, with further back payments to follow.

Management then tried to deal with the grievance on an individual basis but workers insisted on a collective remedy to the underpayments, their union Unite said.

Unite regional officer Mark Soave said: “This is a fantastic result with significant sums of money for the workers at Byrne Brothers.

“Even though they were entitled to more money, management tried to avoid the payments.

“Just because you have a right to be paid more it doesn’t mean bosses will automatically pay up, that’s why it pays to be in a union that is prepared to enforce your rights at work.”

The union believes the pay-out could lead to similar claims across the construction industry.

Byrne Bros could not be reached for comment.

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