Tesco employee wins premium overtime pay battle

A Tesco employee was entitled to premium overtime pay despite an agreement between the supermarket and trade union that stated otherwise.

The employee, Mr J Lozaique, had been employed by the store in a security role for four years when he was offered a job as a CCTV operator at another branch.

A letter from his manager read: “I am pleased to offer you the role of CCTV Operator at ... Your contract will be 36.5 hours and we will guarantee you at least 12 hours of overtime each week ... and an 8-hour Sunday shift paid at a rate of 1.5.”

This amounted to 20 hours overtime, to be paid at the premium rate of time-and-a-half.

He was later told that his terms and conditions were to include those contained in “Partnership Agreements” negotiated between the employer and the trade union, USDAW.

A negotiation between Tesco and the union took away the obligation to pay overtime premiums, apart from work on Sundays.

This meant the pay rate of 12 of Lozaique’s overtime hours had been reduced from time-and-a-half to regular time. He brought a claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Tesco, accepting that the Partnership Agreement had been incorporated into the employee’s contract.

This was overturned at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It ruled that the Partnership Agreement only related to voluntary overtime.

Lozaique had an obligation to work the 20 hours overtime, as stated in his letter of employment, and so they were not covered by the Partnership Agreement.

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