Tribunal awards Dundee plumber £24,000

A Scottish plumber has won more than £24,000 after a hearing concerning unpaid wages at the Employment Tribunal Service in Dundee, the Evening Telegraph has reported.

Neil Keanie, the claimant, had been employed by McTear Contracts Ltd from December 2016 to May 2017 carrying out bathroom refurbishments, wetroom installations and floor and heating installations in and around Fife.

Conflict arose when Mr Keanie complained to McTear Contracts about unpaid wages. Mr Keanie was subsequently fired, leading him to take legal action against the firm for wrongful dismissal.

His employers argued that a downturn in work was the reason for Mr Keanie’s dismissal, but the tribunal judge dismissed this claim.

The court saw an exchange of text messaging between Mr Keanie and McTear Contract’s Project Manager Neil Litterick, wherein the claimant said he had been underpaid by amounts ranging from £229 to £217. He also asked to be exempted certain types of work until the pay issue was resolved

The Evening Telegraph says Mr Litterick responded by saying: “Do you not like working here, Neil?”

Mr Keanie asked the project manager if “this was a threat” – stating “yes, but I like to be paid for the work I do”.

The firm’s Commercial Director, Keiron McTear, took the decision to dismiss Mr Keanie on the basis of “a reduction and a downturn in work”.

Mr Keanie then lodged a formal grievance, stating he was dismissed for speaking out about his statutory rights.

According to the Evening Telegraph, Judge Rory McPherson found in favour of the claimant, saying he was owed £23,599 for the 46 weeks that had passed since the dismissal and a further £733 in unlawful deductions and unpaid holiday pay.

He said: “I do not accept the respondent’s evidence and submission that the reason for dismissal was due to a downturn in work. I am satisfied the complaint of underpayments was the principal reason for dismissal.” 

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