Ian Smith, the #91,000-a-year street light engineer off work sick for more than two years, has won a legal battle forcing Birmingham City Council to pay him to act as a full-time union official.
Mr Smith emerged victorious from an employment tribunal, which ruled unanimously that the council had unlawfully deducted money from his wages and sought to prevent him carrying out full-time duties for the union Amicus.
Mr Smith, who has been off ill since August 2004, also won the right to sick pay based on his total annual salary - which was #91,000 in 2005/06.
Council bosses agreed an out of court settlement on October 27, four days before leaked salary documents highlighted by The Birmingham Post prompted nationwide publicity about bonus and overtime payments at the Spring Lane Street Lighting Direct Labour Organisation.
Details of the settlement are not being released.
The tribunal ruled that Mr Smith was entitled to claim overtime payments to cover work undertaken as part of his union duties and found that no council official had ever challenged the basis of his overtime claims.
He had never been asked to identify which hours worked were in respect of trade union activities and which were in respect of his other duties.
It emerged during the hearing that Mr Smith's basic wage, #71,000, his contractual overtime of #4,718 and stand-by payment of #15,686 are all regarded as pensionable pay.
The council's final salary pension scheme would allow an employee earning #91,000-a-year to retire after 35 years service with a lump sum payment in excess of #200,000 and an annual pension of about #30,000.
Mr Smith, of Wyckham Close, Har-borne, remains off work sick on full pay and is understood to be suffering from leg injuries and stress.
The tribunal found that the council had no proper procedures for deciding how individuals should be paid for undertaking trade union activities on a full time basis. An agreement between five unions and the council, signed in January 2002, was "silent" on the matter of how salaries for union officials should be calculated.
The dispute began in 1993, when Mr Smith was granted the right to act as a trade union official on a full-time basis. He did not immediately do so, preferring to continue as a street lighting engineer while "juggling" union duties at the same time.
In June 2002, Mr Smith informed council managers that he wished to exercise the option to be a full-time union official. The decision meant his salary arrangements would switch from a fluctuating weekly payment to an annual wage based on average pay over a preceding 13-week period - a calculation which resulted in an annual wage of
#75,000 at that time. His immediate bosses agreed, but were overruled by Neil Dancer, the chief highway engineer, who told Mr Smith he could not continue to claim overtime payments for trade union duties.
The tribunal found Mr Smith had a contractural right to time off for trade union activities.
The court's judgment added: "The contractural rights secured in 1993 and clarified in June 2001 and June 2002 were that the claimant would suffer no detriment from taking up his right to full-time union duties and that his pensionable pay would be calculated on the average of the previous 13 weeks or the previous six months."
There was no evidence that Mr Smith had artificially inflated the figure claimed for.
His timesheets showed Mr Smith working significant periods of overtime each week, but did not show whether the addit ional pay being claimed reflected his union duties.