Crick company faces £280,000 payout

A Crick transport firm has been told to pay redundant employees at one of its branches more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The payout by Norbet Dentressangle Transport Services Ltd, totalling about £280,000, is legally classed as a protective award and is usually made when a management has failed to consult with unions and employees about job losses pending a closure.

Unite applied for the awards at Birmingham Employment Tribunal after the firm made redundancies among staff at its branch site in Rowley Regis but failed to carry out the full consultations it was required to do under the law.

The company, based at Crick, has saved paying a further £5,000 by taking on 11 redundant employees at Crick from its unit in Rowley Regis in the West Midlands, which may close next month.

Mr Sean O’Brien, representing the union, said more jobs might have been saved if the firm had carried out the full consultations required by law.

The firm said there had been no intention to default on their requirements and that the respondents should not be unduly punished.

Mr O’Brien told tribunal judge Mr Ron Ashton: “They thought they were right but they were wrong. Ignorance is no defence.”

Unite organiser Miss Caroline Crolley had helped bring the awards application to the tribunal after stating that 89 union members who had lost their jobs were entitled to the protective awards.

She said that 56 were still employed by the firm elsewhere and that a further 11, who are not entitled to the awards, had moved to Crick.

Mr Ashton said it had been well founded that the firm had failed to carry out full consultations at the right time about the redundancies.

He said he was awarding the 89 former employees the equivalent of 50 days pay which would total about £280,000.

Miss Crolley said later that because the Government limited protective awards to no more than £450 a week, it meant that each former employee could be entitled to more than £3,000 each.