Thousands of workers in Northern Ireland in line for Holiday Pay backpay after UK Supreme Court Judgement

Police staff members of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) and its solicitor John McShane of MTB have won a historic victory

13 Oct 2023| News

Police staff members of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) and its solicitor John McShane of MTB have today won a historic victory at the UK Supreme Court in their fight for “normal pay when on holiday and not just their basic pay” backdated to 1998.

Thousands of cases across the public and private sectors have been stayed pending the outcome of the UK Supreme Court Judgment which will now mean backpay for thousands of workers potentially going back to 1998. The cost to the PSNI alone will be 10’s of millions of pounds.

An Industrial Tribunal in 2018 ruled that unlawful deductions made from holiday entitlements of the PSNI’s officers and support staff were in breach of European law rights.

In 2019, the PSNI appealed the decision to the NI Court of Appeal who upheld the Tribunal’s decision. The PSNI appealed again to the UK Supreme Court, being heard in December 2022.

In its judgement released today the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal judgement with the final sentence in the 66 page judgement stating:

“For the reasons we have given, this appeal must be dismissed”.

NIPSA Deputy General Secretary, Antoinette McMillen stated:

“NIPSA members will be delighted with the UK Supreme Court Judgment which supports the NI Court of Appeal Judgement.

This is a landmark case and applies to all workers regardless of sector. Trade unions such as NIPSA are not merely guardians of workers’ rights; they are agents of change, champions of fairness, and drivers of progress.

Individual workers cannot afford this sort of litigation but being part of a trade union allows workers to challenge pay injustices through legal cases.

NIPSA remains steadfast in its mission to ensure that every worker is treated with dignity and respect, both in and out of the courtroom.

NIPSA will continue to pursue workers’ rights and will utilise its solicitors MTB if necessary. Our thanks to John McShane of MTB solicitors, barristers Jason Galbraith, Michael Ford, David McMillen, Peter Hopkins, Nicola Newbegin and Brian McKee who was instrumental in taking this case forward.

NIPSA General Secretary, Carmel Gates stated:

“This case has taken NIPSA the best part of 15 years to pursue on behalf of its members. The Supreme Court has supported our members’ claim that they are legally entitled to backdated holiday pay. NIPSA punches above its weight, championing crucial cases that compel employers to uphold their financial and health and safety responsibilities towards our members and all workers.

NIPSA solicitor John McShane stated that:

“I am delighted with the outcome which ensures a fair days pay for a fair days work”. It is an important victory particularly at a time when workers are struggling to make ends meet. Holiday pay is not merely a financial matter; it’s an embodiment of workers’ rights and dignity.

NIPSA stands at the forefront of the ongoing struggle to ensure that every worker receives their rightful pay, holiday or other and that we shape the future of labour relations for generations to come.”