An employment tribunal has ruled in favour of Unite member, Rose Lee, in her claim for a protective award.
Rose was employed as a bus driver for Tates Travel Ltd, based at the depot in Barnsley. She was made redundant with immediate effect on 8 February 2016, having worked at the company for two and a half years.
Tates Travel Ltd were 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 were in an extremely poor financial position, with high finance costs and ongoing losses. It therefore made a total of 62 employees redundant.
Rose approached 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 over 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 and they were also persuaded to make a protective award in favour of all ex-employees (who were not Unite members).
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.”
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.”