Ex-staff victorious in tribunal battle

SEVEN former employees of a Weston firm could be in line for thousands of pounds in compensation after winning a claim for unfair dismissal.

Book-binding firm West Country Binders (WCB) went into administration last year but reopened officially a month later as UK Book Binders (UBB).

On February 7 last year all 25 staff at the firm in Buckingham Road were made redundant as bosses at the firm believed it had gone into liquidation.

Staff were given redundancy money through the Government’s redundancy payout office.

On February 28, UBB was officially opened, but it was only on March 15 that WCB formally went into liquidation.

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Ten members of staff were released by the new firm, and seven of those claimed for unfair dismissal and were successful at a hearing at Bristol Employment Tribunal.

The hearing ruled UBB was a continuation of WCB, and the company had not consulted properly with Unite, the union which had represented staff members.

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It also found the seven men had been unfairly dismissed under terms of employment (protection of employment) regulations.

The men will now meet their former employers at the tribunal again next week to agree compensation packages.

At the tribunal, the men were awarded 90 days pay each for the lack of consultation over their redundancies, and 13 weeks payment between them after the company’s failure to stick to TUPE regulations.

Martin Hodges, Unite’s regional officer, said: “People might have worked for the company for many years and when they were initially told they had lost their jobs taken a redundancy package from the public purse and I think it is absolutely wrong that the public should pick that up.

“Too many employers are looking for the easy way out of their obligations to employees and creditors. Unite is concerned and appalled that any company can get away with closing down and opening up with a new name and we will pursue any company trying to get away with that.”

UBB said it was unable to comment before the outcome of the settlement hearing.

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