Tribunal rules unfair dismissal for sacked construction worker

The
Transport & General Workers’ Union is claiming "a hugely significant
victory for construction workers", after an employment tribunal ruled that
a site worker was unfairly dismissed by Stour Contractors Limited for his trade
union membership and activities.

The
worker was also granted interim relief, meaning he will receive full pay
backdated from his dismissal.

Martin
Avey was sacked by Stour Contractors in November 2002 after he began recruiting
and organising for the T&G at its site in Brighton.

Workers
at the site were becoming increasingly unhappy that they were due to receive no
paid holiday, and Avey contacted the T&G to enquire about membership and
support for the workers’ case.

Significantly
for the construction industry, Avey was given employment status by an initial
hearing in December, even though the company, like many construction firms,
argued that he was not an employee.

In
construction tax arrangements are often based on the individual, and workers
are generally regarded by employers as self-employed.

Steve
Turner, regional industrial organiser for the T&G said: "This is a
hugely significant victory for construction workers, who now have legal
protection to recruit and organise union members. Construction workers can be
anxious to join and build the union in a hostile environment for fear of
unstable employment, however the decision that Avey was unfairly dismissed and
to award him employment status should come as welcome news to others in the
industry."

By Quentin Reade

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