Redundant staff share £148,500

UNION members at a now-defunct firm have won a £150,000 pay-out after a four-year fight for redundancy pay.

Thirty staff at the former HQ Engineering, which was based in Hartlepool's Burn Road until it closed three days before Christmas in 2006, have each been awarded a share of 148,533 following a tribunal.

The staff are members of the GMB union and union officials say the sum relates to the company's "failure to comply with the legislation relating to redundancy", representing 90 days pay.

GMB regional organiser Jimmy Skivington said: "This is an important judgment which should help in the current difficult industrial climate where companies seek to avoid their legal and social responsibilities.

"We put a strong case to the employment tribunal and we are pleased that in such difficult circumstances for GMB members affected by the closure, that the tribunal office found in our members' favour.

"The GMB said that members' complaints were that HQ Engineering had failed to comply with its requirements under Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Regulations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

"These are really tough times in manufacturing.

"What we can't have is companies seeking to avoid proper consultation methods and preventing working people and their families getting what they are owed.

"In what is arguably the worst industrial climate in living memory, the responsibility is on companies to meet their legal, social and moral responsibilities to their workers."

It is not yet known how the money will be paid.

The Mail reported in December 2006 that workers had claimed they were still owed money from the company despite claims they would be paid before Christmas.

All 95 workers were handed letters telling them that their contracts were being terminated with immediate effect, although they were given a glimmer of hope when it was rumoured that bosses would pay them out of their own pockets.

But the offer failed to materialise.