UK - Unions are to challenge an employment tribunal ruling on part-time workers' pension rights because time limits will bar the majority from making claims.
The Nottingham employment tribunal ruled on 27 test cases to settle whether thousands of part-time workers could claim backdated entry into their employers’ occupational schemes. It also settled other issues such as the time period for backdated claims.
Despite reservations, the bank workers’ union Unifi welcomed the verdict as “a step forward in the process” when it was announced last month.
But now Unifi and five other unions say they are upset with the decision because under TUPE, people must have made a claim for backdated pensions within six months of being transferred. Lawyers believe this barred workers from making claims.
The unions are to challenge the verdict following a “council of war” last week. Unifi negotiating officer Linda Gregory said: “We’re looking at what we can appeal on – what other areas or outstanding questions have not been tested yet and needs to go before a tribunal.”
The public sector workers’ union Unison confirmed that the six are to challenge the tribunal, but claimed the action would be limited to prevent a long delay.
Unison legal officer Fiona Hobbs said: “We will be challenging on a limited amount of issues, but we’re not going to challenge every single thing we got knocked down on. We are going to try to limit it because we understand it could take years and years otherwise.”
The other unions involved are the three teachers’ unions – Nasuwt, ATL and NUT – and the university lecturers’ group the Natfhe.
• Tribunal chairman John Macmillan is to hold a direction’s hearing on October 1 on the practicalities of implementing the verdict.
Lawyers had complained about the lack of guidance issued by Macmillan and warned that implementing the verdict could cost employers a massive amount.
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