Bus driver compensated following sudden loss of job

A Leeds Employment Tribunal has ruled in favour of Unite member, Rose Lee, in her claim for a ‘Protective Award’ from her previous employer.

Rose was employed for two and a half years as a bus driver for Tates Travel Ltd, based at a depot in Barnsley, when she was suddenly made redundant with immediate effect on 8 February 2016.

Tates Travel Ltd was aware that they were in serious financial difficulty in early 2015, but chose not to tell its employees. In February 2016 administrators were called in, but by this time it was too late.

The company was in an extremely poor financial position, with high finance costs and ongoing losses, resulting in them making a total of 62 employees redundant.

As a member of Unite, Rose was able to contact Unite Legal Services for advice following her redundancy.

On 21 December 2016, Leeds Employment Tribunal found that Tates Travel Ltd had not effectively appointed representatives for employees at any stage throughout the redundancy process.

As there were more than 20 employees based at this depot, the company had a legal obligation to consult with staff prior to any redundancies taking place, however, this did not happen.

Therefore, the Employment Tribunal awarded the full 90 days’ pay (Protective Award) to Rose Lee.

A ‘Protective Award’ is made to penalise an employer who fails to comply with the relevant collective consultation requirements.

Rose said: “The support and advice provided by the union and Phil Bown, Unite Regional Officer, throughout the process couldn’t have been better. Thanks to Unite this Protective Award will go some way towards helping me.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Secretary of Unite the Union, said: “After the ordeal that our member went through following the sudden loss of her job, the union were able to secure the maximum Protective Award of 90 days’ pay as compensation for the company’s lack of consultation. This outcome highlights the importance of union membership.”