Part-time workers claims – a summary

The RFU is very pleased to have finally, this week, been able to reach settlement on our members’ behalf regarding their PTW claims.

This process has taken over 10 years to reach its conclusion and whilst there is a compensation payment included in the settlement, no-one should forget that this process began for us when ‘THE PART-TIME WORKERS (Prevention Of Less Favourable Treatment Regulations 2000)’, came into force on 1st July 2000, our main objective then, as now, was to bring about equality of treatment for retained firefighters.

Credit is due to my predecessor Derek Chadbon who was in post at the time; Derek fully understood the implications for retained firefighters within the new regulations and was quick to act on our members' behalf. It is a matter of record that the RFU was the first Fire Service union to submit applications under the regulations and commenced submitting claims on our members’ behalf in July 2000 followed eventually by the FBU who first submitted claims in December 2000.

Through this bulletin we would also wish to record our thanks to Managing Partner Andrew Barnes and the specialist employment law team including Harriet McInnes and Graham Irons at Howes Percival LLP in Norwich, not forgetting Jane McNeil of Old Square Chambers who was Queens Counsel for the RFU and whose advice was crucial throughout this lengthy period.

We have received a high volume of queries from our local officials and at RFU HQ and having now settled, we feel it appropriate to clarify a number of points relating to settlement of these cases.

The RFU and FBU have over the past 12 months been in negotiations with the National Employers relating to the ‘Terms and Conditions’ aspect of the PTWLFT cases, whilst the FBU came to an agreement with the Employers, we continued talks due to the fact that some of our cases involved both the Part Time Workers legislation and Equal Pay and sought clarification on certain assurances regarding Bounty payments.

While we do not as a rule seek to react to publications from another organisation within the Fire Service; it has become clear that, over the past couple of weeks unhelpful information has been circulated by the FBU leading to confusion amongst RDS staff.

In our 19th April circular we have addressed this and provided clarification certainly for RFU members and those others who may get the chance to read it.

Compensation awardALL serving personnel within the reference period (1st July 2000 – 30 June 2010) will receive compensation irrespective of whether they are in the RFU, FBU or no union at all; now or at any time in the past. Your compensation payment, if you are currently serving will be no different, irrespective of whether you are, or were in any union during the reference period.

We expect that every serving employee will receive their compensation award around the same time irrespective of what, if any union you are or have been in the past. All the data from your Fire Service Employer, RFU and FBU will be processed by Popularis to ensure that there is no duplication and RFU members will not be any worse off than FBU members.

The RFU very wisely protected the rights of members who retired from the Fire Service by submitting individual tribunal applications on a member-by-member basis as they left the service so that such members who left prior to 30 June 2010 are also entitled to receive the compensation award.

The RFU submitted claims covering 12 points of unfairness while the FBU only covered 3. However, the compensation award has included all of our points of unfairness.

While we would not normally seek to criticise the FBU, their recent statements have left us with no choice. The facts provided above are a matter of record.

The RFU prides itself on representing the interests of Retained/On-Call personnel and whilst we may not be the largest union in the Fire Service, we have in the past and will in the future continue to ensure our members are dealt with reasonably and honestly

John Barton
National General Secretary

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