A COMPANY that threatened to sack workers if they did not accept a below-inflation pay rise was yesterday trying to wriggle out of a ruling that it should pay out more than £420,000 in compensation.
Kostal UK Ltd at Rotherham in Yorkshire makes automotive components and is part of a transnational corporation. Its 700 workers are members of union Unite.
The workforce overwhelmingly rejected a pay proposal from the company but Kostal sought to bypass union negotiations and wrote to workers saying they would forfeit a Christmas bonus of £270 if they did not accept.
In another letter it warned that workers who did not accept risked being sacked.
A Sheffield employment tribunal ruled that both actions amounted to unlawful inducements and awarded 56 Unite members more than £420,000 in compensation.
The company refused to accept the ruling and yesterday took the issue to an employment appeal tribunal (EAT) in London.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This is the first time an appeal court has considered this vital point of law.
“The EAT’s decision will set a binding legal precedent which employment tribunals across the UK will be obliged to follow in the future. This is a key case that employers and trade unions will be watching very closely.
“The importance of today’s hearing cannot be underestimated. The case is worth over £420,000 for the Unite members included in the claims and the legal point goes to the very heart and importance of trade union recognition.”