Unite the union members, who were made redundant from a Bury packaging firm, will share a collective compensation award of almost £400,000 after their employer failed to consult with them.
Pulse Flexible Packaging Ltd. went into administration in spring 2017 and redundancies were issued to operatives over a two month period, which included 94 Unite members. They received statutory payments from the Redundancy Payments Fund, such as redundancy pay and notice pay.
However, it was apparent that the company had failed to consult with Unite, as is required by the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The purpose of the consultation rule is to try to ensure that redundancies do not occur.
Unite Legal Services pursued claims on behalf of all members to the Employment Tribunal (ET) in Manchester and a protective award, of the maximum amount, was issued in favour of all members, meaning that the workers were entitled to 90 days of normal pay. In this particular case, however, as the company is in administration, only eight weeks of the award can be recovered from the government fund, and so the 94 Unite members will share compensation of just under £400,000.
Unite’s regional officer, Sharon Hutchinson, who represented the 94 members, commented:
“All of our members were very upset when they lost their jobs, and it was comforting for members to know that the union’s legal service was working to ensure that they received all relevant payments in line with their legal rights. Unite members received 100% of compensation and the union is aware that some individuals who were not members will receive payments, but they will also be responsible on a personal basis for meeting payment of legal costs. It always pays to be a member of the union.”
Michael Tighe, Unite regional legal officer, said: “This case demonstrates the importance of being a Unite member. Our members found themselves dismissed and out of work, through no fault of their own. Having Unite in their corner meant members benefited from expert legal advice and representation at the Employment Tribunal, resulting in a huge amount of money being recovered for our members.”