Prospect, FDA and PCS unions are in the High Court today (Tuesday) seeking £6m in lost pay for their members from the House of Commons Commission, the body responsible for the administration and services of the House.
The unions claim that the failure to pay staff their annual increments is a breach of contract.
Prospect negotiator John Higgins said: “The pay of staff of the House has to be comparable with that of civil servants and the commission decided in 2011 that it would apply the government’s pay freeze to its staff.
“This includes not paying staff their annual increments, due from April 2011. The unions’ legal advice is that this is a breach of contract because the increments are contractual and therefore exempt from the pay freeze. As a result of a peculiarity of law, the claims have to be heard in the High Court rather than an Employment Tribunal.”
Andrew James from Thompsons Solicitors, who are representing the claimants said: “Hundreds of union members employed by the House of Commons have been denied pay increases for the past three years, totalling nearly £2m per year.
“We’re confident that incremental pay progression is a contractual right for these staff that should be honoured. Public sector pay freezes mean incremental increases are a vital lifeline for these staff who – without the backing of their trade unions – would have been unable to bring their case to court.”