Unite has secured a significant legal victory in its battle for compensation for workers who lost their jobs when construction and outsourcing giant Carillion collapsed in January 2018.
Unite is representing 263 members who are seeking compensation due to Carillion’s failure to inform and consult them before they lost their jobs when the company collapsed into compulsory liquidation.
This week the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that the case could proceed, dismissing the Carillion group’s appeal.
In January the Employment Tribunal rejected Carillion’s argument that what they claimed were “special circumstances” applicable to the group company’s collapse meant no protective awards should be made to workers for consultation failures that occurred. Not content with the Tribunal’s 95 page decision on the point, Carillion mounted an appeal that was heard in the Employment Appeal Tribunal on Tuesday 6 July.
However, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected this argument in an oral judgment last week and ruled that the decision made at the original employment tribunal to allow the cases to continue was correct.
The decision of the EAT was very important as if the judge had ruled differently it would have made it far more difficult for similar cases to proceed in future, creating an additional barrier for workers seeking justice when companies collapse.
While the victory at the EAT is significant it is not the end of the battle to secure justice for the affected workers. A seven week hearing is scheduled for 2022, when the decision to award members a protective award for the failure of Carillion to inform and consult them, will be made.
Unite assistant general secretary for legal affairs Howard Beckett said, “This was a vitally important case not just for the former Carillion workers but all workers, who lose their jobs without warning in the future.
“Unite made a commitment when Carillion collapsed to do everything possible to protect our members who lost their jobs without warning through no fault of their own,” he added. “Three and half years later we are still fighting for our members to receive the compensation they deserve.
“While this was an important victory the battle for compensation for our members is far from over and Unite will continue to represent them until this case is finally resolved.”
By Barckley Sumner