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Our Ref: BR2/14/3
20th May 2020
FURLOUGH ARRANGEMENTS, CORONAVIRUS – HULL TRAINS
I am writing further to my previous correspondence and in relation to the above matter. The union has raised the issue of how Hull Trains calculates their furlough payments. Presently, the company has refused to include overtime into the payments and are stating this is a decision by the HMRC.
Whilst Government guidance on this issue was initially vague with varying statements on overtime, it has recently been updated. The recent change to Government guidance supports that overtime should be paid when there is a contractual right to be paid overtime when it is usually worked. With a further statement from the Treasury stating they expect their customers to work from the Government guidance. This effetely means that as overtime often top’s up monthly earnings, you and your colleagues do not receive a regular monthly salary.
Therefore, furlough payments should be on the basis of the Guidance which details when pay varies i.e. more overtime worked in one month then the next. It is our argument that the company should be paying furlough payments on the basis of the amount you earned in the same month last year or an average of your monthly earnings from the last year, which ever is calculated to be higher.
We have again written to the company stating that they should be calculating your furlough payments on the above basis. The RMT is also asking to see the correspondence between the company and the HMRC and for the company to provide the specific wording that they claim is preventing them from making these payments.
The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has instructed me to seek clarification from our Legal Department on the possibilities and prospects of success in pursing an unlawful deduction of wages claim at an Employment Tribunal. This will obviously require you and your colleagues to fill out ‘L2’ (application for legal assistance) forms. Legal claims such as this are bound by strict legal timeframes and you may wish to start gathering last year’s payslips and other relevant documentation, should we need to raise the issue at an employment tribunal.
Furthermore, I will also be writing to the TUC, asking them to challenge the Government over the furlough payment issues and to ensure you and your colleagues are receiving what you are entitled to.
I understand that this is a lot of information to take on-board in one go and the union is doing everything possible to ensure the company provide the correct calculation to your furlough payments. Once I have received further information on the above issues I will write to you again providing an update.
In the meantime, I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well.