An employment tribunal has awarded compensation to former Maplin workers who have established that the company failed in its statutory duty to consult with them about impending redundancies.
The former Head Office workers pursued claims against the electronics retailer when they were made redundant without sufficient information being given to them in advance and without any adequate consultation process.
80 of those Claimants were represented by Leeds-based Morrish Solicitors and all were awarded 8 weeks’ pay.
The company collapsed into administration in February 2018 after talks with buyers failed to secure a sale. More than 2,300 redundancies were made across 219 stores, along with their Head Office, without appointing any employee representatives and without any consultation. Unfortunately, only Head Office staff were able to succeed with this claim. The law states that there must be 20 or more staff made redundant at a workplace in order to qualify for a protective award.
Started in 1972, Maplin developed into one of the largest electronics retailers in the UK, employing 2,335 staff at the time administrators took over, and had an annual turnover of £235.8m. Its final owners were Rutland Partners, who acquired it in 2014.
Maplin’s troubles were blamed on the post-Brexit slump in the pound which led to a higher price being paid for US goods, the withdrawal of credit insurance and the challenging climate for high street retailers.
Daniel Kindell, Partner at Morrish Solicitors stated: “Unfortunately, what happened at Maplin is not uncommon and sadly, nearly every week we are seeing press reports of job losses due to companies becoming insolvent. In most cases, employees are given no prior warning and consultation doesn’t happen. This can give rise to a protective award claim.
As a specialist law firm for individuals and experts in this field we want to make sure that those who lose their jobs to an insolvent employer are aware of their rights and how to enforce them. In this case we were able to secure the best possible result for ex-Maplin staff. We live in hope that employers facing insolvency will start to change their ways and engage in these processes in the future. It is the very least employees deserve in return for all the hard work they gave trying to save them from insolvency.”
 When a company intends to make more than 20 staff redundant there is a statutory period for consultation of a minimum of 30 days. That period is greater where over 100 staff are to be made redundant. Employers must appoint employee representatives (if no union is recognised) and must provide information to those representatives about the proposals to make redundancies and consult about ways of avoiding redundancies, reducing the numbers or mitigating against the effects of those redundancies – Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 s188. A failure to do so gives rise to a claim for a Protective Award, and a Tribunal can award compensation, in addition to any redundancy or notice pay they may have already received, no matter what their length of service.