The GMB union is trying to trace thousands of former Butlins employees who may be due a refund for heat and lighting bills they paid while living in company accommodation
Butlins and its associated companies Haven Holidays and British Holiday have been deducting a nominal £3 a week from the wages of live-in staff for their private energy usage.
But a verbal judgement from the Employment Appeals Tribunal has ruled against these charges for staff on the national minimum wage.
If its written judgement comes to the same view and Butlins chooses not to appeal, the company will have to refund low-paid staff who worked across 50 UK sites in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
The refunds will average £156 for full-time staff and around £90 for seasonal workers.
A spokesman for Butlins warned that scrapping the nominal payment could double the energy bill for live-in staff as they would then be charged individually at normal commercial rates.
Butlins disputed GMB claims that compensation could reach £1m across 20,000 workers.
The spokesman said the ruling affected no more than 2,700 staff from a seasonal maximum of 5,400 workers across the three companies. The GMB is urging affected Butlins staff to get in touch by e-mailing this address: email@example.com .
By Angela Frewin