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Self-employed holiday pay ruling will stand

Subbie faces £1m of claims after judge rules unpaid holiday wage tribunal decision correct

A HERTFORDSHIRE groundworks contractor is facing claims of nearly £1 million in unpaid holiday pay after a judge threw out its plans to appeal against an employment tribunal ruling last week.

Knebworth firm AD Bly was told in December at an employment tribunal in Bedford to pay £4,500 - the equivalent of 66.5 days - in backdated holiday pay to Andy Cochrane, who worked for the firm as a self-employed labourer on a CIS4 card between March 2001 and July 2004.

Although the tribunal ruled out Mr Cochrane's claim for unfair dismissal it decided that he was classed as a worker under the 1998 Working Time Regulations.

The decision left AD Bly open to claims from more than 200 other self-employed staff at the firm. It said in December that it considered the case wrong in law and planned to appeal.

But Mr Justice Silber ruled last week that there were 'no reasonable grounds' for bringing the appeal. He stated: 'There is no error of law as the tribunal was entitled to conclude that the respondent was a worker under the WTR, as he at the relevant time works under a form of contract whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or service for another party to the contract.This appeal has no reasonable prospect of success and no further action will be taken on it.'

Bryan Rye, eastern regional secretary of construction union Ucatt, who took on Mr Cochrane's case, said: 'I'm delighted with this decision and I will be doing everything I can to ensure that the rest of the self-employed staff at AD Bly know what they're entitled to.'

He added that Mr Cochrane has yet to receive his tribunal award and has passed on details of the case to the Inland Revenue's investigation department.

Despite the ruling, AD Bly managing director Aaron McSkimming, said the firm had won a similar tribunal to Mr Cochrane's against a worker who had claimed holiday after working for the company for two years as a groundworker.

He added: 'It is unfair that subcontractors work for many years without raising the holiday pay issue and then claim considerable sums of backdated holiday pay at the end of the contract.'