Ex-Woolworths worker ‘delighted’ with cash compensation award

Gary McKie, Michael McKie. and Angela McKie.
Gary McKie, Michael McKie. and Angela McKie.

A FORMER Woolworths worker who led a crusade for town workers to get cash they were owed is “delighted” after being awarded compensation.

Mike McKie, his wife Angela and son Gary all worked at Hartlepool’s doomed Woolworths, which closed just over three years ago.

Mr McKie, 44, led a fight for ex-staff of the Middleton Grange store to get three months’ wages they were owed.

Former employees have finally been awarded up to £67.8m compensation after the shop workers union Usdaw took the case to court.

They won an employment tribunal which will see more than 24,000 workers, who were made redundant when the chain collapsed, awarded 60 days’ pay.

Mr McKie, who runs a general dealers in Egerton Terrace, Greatham, said: “Everyone is delighted that it is just over and done with.

“I’m over the moon but I won’t believe it until the money has been paid into everybody’s account.

“It is just a shame that we have had to wait three years for this.

“There was a lot of people that worked there that had families and mortgages.

“Some had been there since they were 16 years old.

“I think everybody is happy that it’s all over and done with and hopefully everybody will receive their money quickly.”

Around 40 staff lost their jobs when Hartlepool’s Woolworths closed in December 2008.

Mr McKie worked as a stockroom manager at Woolworths while Angela, 43, was employed as office manager and Gary, 22, worked in the entertainment department.

He added: “They are offering 60 days wages when we were originally asking for 90 days.

“To lose a month’s money is still a lot of money to people.”

And he hit out at the ruling which will see 3,000 former Woolworths employees who worked in stores with less than 20 staff miss out on the compensation.

“I think that’s all wrong, he said. At the end of the day those people are just as entitled to their notice as anybody.”

Usdaw claimed the administrators had failed in their legal duty to consult with the union before making redundancies.

Because Woolworths was in administration at the time of the redundancies, responsibility for the compensation lies with the taxpayer through the Government’s Redundancy Payments Office.