Unite wins five year holiday pay battle with haulier Eddie Stobart

A five-year legal battle to get haulier, Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL), to pay the correct rate of holiday pay has resulted in a pay-out of £364,000 for more than 430 drivers.

Unite, the country’s largest union which represented 370 of its drivers, hailed this as ‘a victory for the benefits of union membership’, as only union drivers benefited from the successful legal action.

The Unite drivers, who are mainly based in the north of England, will start receiving their payments this week, ranging between £700 and £1,000 each.

The kernel of the dispute was that holiday pay should reflect ‘average pay’. ESL was paying basic pay, plus a daily supplement, for the 20 days holiday under the working time directive.

But Unite argued that the drivers had allowances and overtime that would have contributed towards a higher rate of ‘average’ holiday pay.

The legal process started in 2011 and was settled before it reached court. It also involved 69 members of the United Road Transport Union (URTU) who will share in the £364,000 pay-out.

As of this month, all ESL drivers will be getting the higher rate of holiday pay for the 28 days leave each year, which also includes statutory bank holidays.

Unite national officer for road transport, Adrian Jones, said: “We are pleased that this five-year old dispute has been settled, although we would have preferred that Eddie Stobart’s had agreed voluntarily to the higher rate of holiday pay rather than going through protracted legal wrangling.   

“This is a triumph for the benefits of union membership as we could only pursue claims on behalf of those members who agreed to the legal claim. Those, who were not union members, won’t benefit from the one-off payment of up to a £1,000.

“However, going forward, all drivers working for ESL, will benefit from the higher rates of holiday pay for the 28 days leave a year.”

The Unite drivers’ total pay-out was £306,700 and URTU’s came to £57,300.