Usdaw wins justice for Liverpool factory workers made redundant

Usdaw has won justice for members who worked at meat processing factory Lockwoods Liverpool Limited after workers last year were made redundant on the spot.

The Liverpool Employment Tribunal granted a Protective Award after they agreed that there was no information or consultation with Usdaw and no special circumstances allowing the company not to comply with its legal obligations.

Usdaw was aware that Lockwoods Liverpool Limited was having some financial difficulties in 2018, but was not told it was about to close. On November 14 last year, staff were asked to clean the site and equipment due to alleged high readings of listeria and a visit from Environmental Health. The site was cleaned as instructed and all staff were called to the canteen.

At this point, all staff were told that the company was in administration and they would be made redundant without further notice. 27 employees were affected and had to claim their payments from the Redundancy Payments Office.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Yet again the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill for what is owed to sacked staff because the company deliberately flouted the law. It’s absolutely disgraceful that workers can be treated in this way in the 21st century.

“Usdaw was not informed or consulted about the redundancies. The company was clearly aware of its financial difficulties, but chose not to involve us, which is in breach of the legislation. Rather than sit down with the union to discuss the situation, they instructed their staff to clean the factory, before closing the company gates.

“This area of law requires review because it is riddled with injustices for both workers and taxpayers as liability to pay the protective awards when companies are in administration falls to the government’s insolvency fund. The government needs to end the perverse financial incentive for employers not to comply with legal obligations on collective redundancy consultation.”

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