Barratts staff to receive pay-outs of up to £4,000 as firm fails to follow redundancy procedure

The Barratts HQ at BPL house, Harrogate Road, Apperley Bridge

The Barratts HQ at BPL house, Harrogate Road, Apperley Bridge

First published in News
Last updated

A UNION has welcomed the pay-out of former staff from a Bradford-based shoe company following an employment tribunal.

Workers at the head office of Barratts Shoes have been awarded up to £4,000 each after a hearing found staff had not received the legally required consultation over their redundancies.

The Leeds Employment Tribunal issued a protective award for workers from Barratts' head office, warehouse and distribution centre, in Apperley Bridge, which means they will receive 90 days pay amounting to £3,000 to £4,000 each.

The staff were originally dismissed between December 3 and 13 last year from the firm's base, where about 150 worked before the firm's latest crash.

This is the second tribunal decision against Barratts covering the final set of redundancies that resulted from the closure of the company.

Barratts operated from 75 stores and 23 concessions across the UK and Ireland, employing 1,035 people, and fell into its most recent difficulties when a £5 million re-finance deal collapsed. Its directors were left with no option but to appoint administrators.

This latest financial failure was its third in four years following administrations in 2009 and 2011.

The company closed 19 of its 75 stores last November, including its Greengates discount store, which affected 200 jobs.

There were a total of 14 claims made in this case to Leeds Employment Tribunal.

John Hannett, general secretary of shopworkers trade union Usdaw, who represented 13 of the claimants, said: "Yet again workers have been mistreated because the law wasn’t followed. There were no excuses in this case, which I am sure is why the tribunal gave the full award of 90 days.

"The law is very clear. In a redundancy situation of more than 20 workers the company must enter into a full consultation with staff and their trade union, lasting at least 90 days, although that has now been reduced to 45 days under the Coalition Government.

"This consultation process is necessary because it allows workers to have a say in the future of business and often we can find ways of helping the company get through a difficult period and save jobs.

"In this instance there was no attempt at consultation and it looked very much like a culling operation to get rid of staff as quickly as possible and particularly cruel as it happened just before Christmas. It is now left to the taxpayer to pick up the bill through the Government’s National Insurance Fund.

"We believe that if employers and administrators were financially liable for the protective award, they would be much less likely to ignore their statutory duty to meaningfully consult with employee representatives.

"It is time the Government acted to end the perverse financial incentive for Administrators not to comply with legal obligations on collective redundancy consultation."

No representatives from Barratts were available for comment at the time the Telegraph and Argus went to press.

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