EAT Unlawful Deduction From Wages – CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT – Implied term/variation/construction of term
At the material time the Treasury had imposed a pay freeze on public sector workers including the Claimants. They claimed that, in spite of that pay freeze, they were entitled to increases in their pay from 2010 which were referable to guaranteed pay progression points. They contended that those progression points had been agreed in the pay round which had led (in substance if not in form) to a collective agreement in 2008. Accordingly, they claimed that the Respondent had unlawfully deducted wages to which they were entitled under their individual contracts of employment, which incorporated the terms of the collective agreement. That agreement was reflected in a letter sent by management to union representatives in 2008. The Employment Tribunal accepted the Claimants’ contentions. The Respondent appealed on the ground that the Employment Tribunal had erred in its construction of the agreement. In particular it contended that the letter of 2008 set out what was agreed for a two year period only because the pay increase agreed at that time was to last only for the years 2009/10.
Held, on its true construction, the agreement in this case dealt with two subjects. The first was the pay increase for staff generally, which was limited to the years 2009/10. However, there was also agreed a structural change, which introduced guaranteed pay progression points: that structural change was not limited in time to those two years. The Employment Judge had not erred in failing to have regard to relevant background evidence or other matters. Accordingly, its construction was correct and the appeal would be dismissed.
 UKEAT 0262 – 13 – 1312
England and Wales
Updated: 01 December 2021; Ref: scu.522363