Union mulls legal action over job losses
UNION leaders are considering legal action against a Suffolk company where more than 50 employees were made redundant earlier this week. Warners M&E Ltd, a long-established mechanical and electrical installation specialist based in Ipswich, called in administrators on Tuesday, with 51 of its 89-strong workforce being made redundant the same day.
UNION leaders are considering legal action against a Suffolk company where more than 50 employees were made redundant earlier this week.
Warners M&E Ltd, a long-established mechanical and electrical installation specialist based in Ipswich, called in administrators on Tuesday, with 51 of its 89-strong workforce being made redundant the same day.
Richard Clarke, construction regional officer for the Amicus section of the Unite union, said there had been no consultation before the announcement and the first they heard of the company's problems was via the local media.
“When the workforce arrived at the company's offices the majority were informed of their immediate dismissal,” he said. “We view this most seriously, and will be taking legal action against the company.”
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Mr Clarke added that staff had been told by the administrators that they would receive wages up until the termination of their employment, but that payments for redundancy and lieu of notice would have to be claimed from the Governments Redundancy Payments Office at the statutory minimum levels.
The administrators and management at Warners have blamed its difficulties on cash-flow problems as a result of main contractors for which it had been working not paying their bills of time. This in turn prompted its parent group, Haymills, to withdraw support for its subsidiary.
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Of the Warners employees not made redundant on Tuesday, 11 who are currently carrying out work for Haymills have been taken on to its books and the remaining 27 are currently helping the administrators.
However, it is understood that these jobs are likely only to last for a matter of weeks, with the administrators seeing no prospect of selling the company as a going concern.
Joint administrator David Merrygold, corporate recover partner at accountants and business advisers PKF, said yesterday: “It would be inappropriate to comment on any legal action being proposed by Unite. We are currently working closely with employees to ensure that their rights are being met.
“The amount of money owed to those who are being made redundant is being calculated and will include their pay for the first two days of this week, pay in lieu of notice, plus any holiday and redundancy pay.”
Mr Merrygold said employees would be receiving the relevant forms today to claim this money back from the Government.
He added: “It is always a sad time when a company goes into administration, especially one which has such a long history as Warners M&E, and if employees are concerned about their rights, they are welcome to speak with my team at PKF or we would recommend they seek guidance and support from the Citizens Advice Bureau, who are skilled in these matters.”