Former Woolworths workers to share £67 million compensation payout
Over 24,000 former employees of Woolworths who were made redundant when the firm collapsed at the end of 2008 are to share a £67.8 million compensation payout.
In a judgement released on Friday, an Employment Tribunal in London found that the administrators for Woolworths failed in their legal obligations to consult with the Usdaw union before making redundancies. As a result, it has awarded the former employees compensation of 60 days pay, capped at £330 a week, the maximum payable in these circumstances.
Usdaw pursued the compensation on behalf of its members following its claim that administrators failed in their legal duty to consult with the union before making redundancies.
However the compensation award excludes all former employees who worked in smaller stores where fewer than 20 redundancies were made. This means around 3,000 employees who worked in around 180 of the 814 stores covered by today’s judgement may never receive compensation.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary said: "My delight at the award for the vast majority of our members is tempered by the clear injustice that workers in smaller stores could miss out.
"Usdaw thinks that the UK's current interpretation of the law on collective redundancies is both unfair and possibly a breach of the European Directive which seeks to protect workers in large scale redundancy situations."
He added: "We are taking further expert legal advice and it is highly likely we will appeal against this part of the judgment."
Usdaw has already made a separate and successful claim for its members whoi worked for Woolworths in Northern Ireland. As no employees in Northern Ireland worked in stores with less than 20 staff, all former employees received compensation of 60 days pay.
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