Unite members at easyJet have won a groundbreaking award on holiday pay from their employer, who has now agreed to pay its crew a holiday entitlement, which includes all elements of pay – basic pay, sector pay and commission.
Although Unite members at easyJet had been building up the case to reach a deal on holiday pay, it is believed that easyJet made the offer in an attempt to avoid potential strike action by its cabin crew, who were undertaking an Industrial Action ballot during the height of the summer season. As well as nearly doubling its current holiday pay award, easyJet also agreed to a deal for two years of back pay for all eligible employees, regardless of whether they qualify for back pay or not.
Previous meetings with easyJet on the matter of holiday pay led Unite to believe that easyJet were likely to delay any decision on holiday pay until the outcome of British Gas v Lock, in which the decision that commission was part of the normal pay that workers should receive when on holiday was being challenged.
But pressure from the Unite members at easyJet probably led to the decision that instead of waiting for the appeal decision, easyJet would go ahead and calculate the commission element of its cabin crew pay into new calculations for holiday pay.
The easyJet decision to come to a blanket deal for all crew, whether they qualified for back pay, and to include the commission element of their pay, is likely to become a precedent for other Unite cabin crew members. It is expected that because of the decision by cabin crew at easyJet, many more cabin crew from other airlines will also now be able to benefit from a holiday entitlement, which reflects all elements of their pay.