Village News


17 December 2002    -    Redundancy row victory for staff

More than 250 employees of a former telecoms firm have won their claim for unfair dismissal after being made redundant.

At an employment tribunal in Leeds yesterday, chairman of the tribunal panel David Burton ruled that the employees' complaint was "well founded."

Many of them worked at Interactive Media Services Ltd's call centre at the Millennium Business Park in Station Road, Steeton, before it went into insolvency.

Mr Burton said: "All those former employees of Interactive Media Services Ltd who were made redundant between February 21 and 28, 2002, together with those former employees who worked out of the media office in London on February 15, 2002, are entitled to remuneration for a period commencing February 15, 2002, and continuing for 90 days."

Administrators Andersons of Leeds did not attend the hearing but were directed by the tribunal to inform the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry of details of those made redundant, the date of termination of their employment and any benefits they received during the 90 days following the redundancies.

Mr Burton told former employees at the tribunal: "The mechanics of getting paid out is that the liability rests with Interactive on the basis that they are insolvent. Liability now passes to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. It can't make any payments because of the benefits situation. The question of benefits has to be resolved before any payments are given out. Any benefits you received during the 90-day period will be deducted from the protective award."

It is believed some payments could be as high as £800 per employee, before benefits deductions.

Speaking after the hearing, one part-time ex-employee said she had been telephoned at 8pm one day and told not to come into work the following day.

She said: "We thought the company would be taken over because there were supposed to be three or four companies interested. We thought we would just carry on our jobs as normal. It was awful how they told us we had been made redundant. Receiving that phone call was terrible."

Gary Baker from the GMB union, who represented the workers at the hearing, said he would be pressing Andersons so payments could be swift.

He said: "I am pleased at the way this has turned out for the workers. This proves that people need to be in a trade union.

"Everybody will benefit from this decision today. The union will not allow dismissals to go unchallenged and workers to be treated unfairly."

The T&A revealed in February how Andersons blamed the withdrawal of the biggest customer, JD Williams mail order, for the redundancies.

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© Newsquest Media Group 2002


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