Haulier was not the employer
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A transport firm which paid the wages of a labourer at a power station has escaped an unfair dismissal charge after an Employment Tribunal ruled the firm was not his employer.
The claim was brought by John Ramage against Fifebased haulier Robert Wilson Transport (RWT). Originally RWT had worked on a contract to move ash from the Longannet Power Station. The transport firm then took on a contract to administer the payment of wages on behalf of ScotAsh.
However, the Edinburgh Transport Tribunal said all employees were hired and fired by ScotAsh, and it was ScotAsh which agreed pay, bonuses and overtime rates with workers.
Rejecting Ramage's claim for unfair dismissal against Robert Wilson Transport, the Tribunal said it considered RWT to be acting as no more than a payroll agent. It was satisfied first that Ramage had undertaken to provide his labour and skills to ScotAsh in return for remuneration, albeit that he was paid through RWT. Second, it was clear from the start that there was a sufficient degree of control exercised by ScotAsh for Ramage to be fairly called its employee. Ramage's holidays were arranged with ScotAsh, not Robert Wilson Transport.
While there were factors on either side, the strong element of control by ScotAsh outweighed the corresponding absence of control by Robert Wilson Transport. Even the formal position on payment was not sufficient to tip the balance.