Staff from Orsett hospital, Essex, who suffered a pay cut when their cleaning contract was won by a private company, lost their claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The cleaners had their work contracted out in 1988 to Initial Healthcare Services who then lost the contract to Pall Mall Services in April 1991. Over 100 workers were made redundant and re-employed by Pall Mall with worse pay and conditions.
Unison has argued that the contract was a transfer of undertakings under the EC conditions so pay and conditions should have been maintained. Mr Justice Wood upheld the view of the original tribunal that regulations did not apply.
Unison assistant general secretary, Roger Poole said the matter may have to be resolved by the European Court, reports the Guardian.