Unite has welcomed an employment tribunal decision which sees 85 former Halton Transport workers, Unite members, receive a pay-out that could exceed £200,000 in total after the bus operator failed to consult with the workforce upon going bust.
The bus operator, owned by Halton council, suddenly collapsed last January, with more than 100 people losing their jobs overnight.
Unite brought forward a case on behalf of 85 of its members, arguing that they should receive 90 days’ pay because they had not been properly consulted before being made redundant as the company went into liquidation.
Tribunal judge Seamus Sweeney ruled that the workers were entitled to compensation because of this failure to consult with the workforce, the Liverpool Echo reported.
In his judgement published this month, Judge Sweeney said there had been a “total failure” by the company in its legal obligations to its workforce “even in the last week of trading, when rumours were circulating of [Halton Transport’s] demise”.
Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg confirmed that 85 Unite members will benefit from the ET’s protective award of 90 days’ pay due to the company’s “failure to engage in consultations with Unite before the mass redundancies that took place from February 4, 2020”.
“As the company has collapsed, the award is capped and will come out of the National Insurance Fund,” she noted. “We estimate that individuals will receive about £2,500 each, but that very much depends on an individual’s circumstances. Tax and national insurance would also be deducted.
“We are very pleased that the employment tribunal recognised the hardship that our members faced and the lamentable failure of the company’s bosses to consult on the redundancies as they were required by law to do so,” Spencer-Scragg continued. “Unite will always strongly pursue similar claims when firms and organisations don’t play by the rules to the detriment of our members.
“I am also glad that many of those made redundant have found alternative employment during this very challenging time for the economy and that Unite is continuing to support those workers still seeking suitable jobs.”
By Hajera Blagg