Former staff at JTF Mega Discount Warehouse Preston are preparing to take legal action over redundancy process after workers have claimed the retailer failed to carry out consultations.Advertisement
Dozens of workers are taking legal action against the retailer after they were made redundant with immediate effect after a deal for the sale of the business fell through.
News that the Nottinghamshire-based, forty-year-old retail chain had collapsed, resulting in the loss of around 500 jobs, broke on Wednesday July 21.
A statement issued on behalf of the company said that the pandemic had played a significant role in its demise, with the forced closure of stores wiping out fireworks and Christmas sales which were ‘two of the largest seasonal items for JTF.’
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According to news reports the company is continuing to seek a buyer, but it has issued a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.
Now, more than 40 former members of staff have contacted law firm Simpson Millar after they say they were notified by email that they had been made redundant with immediate effect, and that those on furlough would not be returning to work as expected.
National law firm Simpson Millar says it is now in the early stages of investigations to enable appropriate legal action to be brought to secure what is known as a Protective Award on their behalf for the company’s failure to properly consult staff regarding the mass redundancies.
The firm has also set up an online compensation form which allows other employees to see whether they can also claim.
Damian Kelly, head of employment law at the firm, said: “The current situation is making it difficult for many companies across most industries and it is no surprise that retail giants, and particularly those that are so reliant on physical footfall, are being significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sadly in this instance we understand that there had been a buyer for the business, but that the sale will no longer be taking place. As a result, the number of employees who are facing redundancy is really quite significant.”
“While some companies are struggling because of the pandemic, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies. Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a Protective Award.
“When people are made redundant the first thing they normally do is look for another job, but in the current climate new jobs are very rare and competition for each role is significant.
“As a result, people are having to prioritise taking measures like applying for universal credit and mortgage holidays in order to be able to survive financially.
“While the process to claim for a Protective Award will not result in an influx of cash immediately, legal protection remains in place to support people who are made redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process, and the money recovered in successful claims will provide some longer term security for those affected.”
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