Last week, Community won a claim in the Bristol Employment Tribunal for employees who were made redundant when Axminster Carpets went into administration in February 2020.
Our claim was that the company had a legal duty to consult with the union because more than 20 people were being made redundant at the company within a 90 day period, and that the company completely failed to comply with their obligations to do so.
Sadly this is the second time in eight years that I have represented workers in the Employment Tribunal when Axminster Carpets has become insolvent.
Community expects employers to take their legal obligations seriously, and when they do not, we stand up for workers’ rights to get them the justice that they deserve. With Axminster Carpets there was a complete failure to consult, and because we were recognised for everyone who worked at the Gamberlake site, they all will benefit from this judgement.
Employment Judge Matthews heard the case on 12th April 2021 and issued his judgement on 30th April 2021. He found that “The Company did not comply in any respect with its obligations under Section 188 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992” before going on to say that Community was entitled to a declaration that the complaint was well founded and that a Protective Award should be made to the affected employees, saying “In the Tribunal’s view it is just and equitable to make the full award of 90 days’ pay. There are no mitigating circumstances.”
The Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Office will be liable to pay out up to eight weeks’ pay towards the award, and the balance will make the former employees creditors of the company, with any further payments dependent upon what the insolvency practitioners are able to realise.
Grant Williams is Legal Officer at Community.
Community Union’s local branch representative, Peter Coath, who worked at the site for 45 years said “I’d like to congratulate the union’s legal team for getting an excellent result for the people who got made redundant from Axminster Carpets. Workers in the South West have had a difficult time with the pandemic so this is a definite boost and shows the value of being a member of Community Union”.