Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Picnic Club.

Ah! The Picnic Club, which is not to be confused with The Camel Club , a group of fictional characters created by American novelist David Baldacci. They are the protagonists of five novels The Camel Club, The Collectors, Stone Cold, Divine Justice, and Hell's Corner.

No, The Picnic Club is a group of 17 guys at Treforest who take their own food to work and have a picnic in Birmingham or London. For this picnic their employer pays them £11.65 a day meal allowance tax free. For all my time working as a driver under contract to the nationwide company, I have been paid a daily meal allowance. All coach operators do this as a meal allowance is an agreed 'dispensation' with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It is cheaper for employers to pay this than a higher hourly rate. We get £11.65 each day plus another £5.00 when we stay overnight in Bradford. We have received these allowances for many years now and the rates have not increased.

Suddenly, without warning the rumour mill tells the drivers at Treforest that these meal allowances will be withdrawn immediately. Rumour has it that some wally in an office did not fill out the paperwork for the tax man correctly. This was a tremendous shock as these payments were an agreed dispensation with the tax man.

So, we all filled out a Grievance Form...


This letter is an individual grievance for the following reasons:

That you have unlawfully deducted wages under section 13 ERA 1996 act .

That you have not notified me in writing, which is required under the above act, before this deduction has been taken.

That you have not received any written consent from me, as required by the above act.

I require to have a Unite union rep in any subsequent meetings to discuss this issue.

I also require that this grievance is heard within 5 working days as is [redacted] policy.


Driver No:


...Well management responded and we had our usual hourly pay from an account named after our old management team PLUS the deducted meal allowances in FULL from a account named after the new management team.

Sadly the damage has been done and one driver has walked out in protest. Peter refuses to come back. There is now a very big suspicion that management are up to some very dirty tricks.
Sorry Steve I suspect that you have lost this benefit.

As an agency worker I also have been entitled to 'tax deductible' expenses including a mid day meal allowance for a number of years now without the need to provide receipts. Like you I took a packed lunch but since the beginning of March I could be asked to provide receipts from a six month period. They must show a purchase for a meal bought that day and not for normal grocery shopping. Food bought for packed lunches are classed as this and therefore not eligible.

This is all part of reducing government spending by being tighter with tax allowances?


Incidently my daily pay rate has not gone up to compenstate.
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