Employment Appeal Tribunal backs union, saying workers were not properly consulted

Tim Lezard

Hesley GroupA group of residential care workers backed by UNISON are one step closer to fairness after an Employment Appeal Tribunal backed their claim that they were not properly consulted over cuts to their pay, terms and conditions.

In 2010, about 300 care workers at Fullerton House School in Yorkshire, for children with learning difficulties, were given a choice, either accept cuts to their working hours, wage freezes and a reduction to their overtime payments or face redundancies.

Whilst most workers accepted the changes, 198 workers turned to UNISON for support when it was revealed the employer had not lawfully consulted them about the proposals.

UNISON argued that the Hesley Group who runs Fullerton House did not follow the rules for consulting workers on collective redundancies. This argument was rejected by Sheffield’s employment tribunal, but they have now been ordered to re-examine their decision.

If the second Employment Tribunal upholds this decision, the care workers will be in line for a payment equal to as much as 90 days of their wages.

Bronwyn McKenna, UNISON Assistant General Secretary, said: “This case should serve as a reminder to the growing number of employers making plans for collective redundancies that they must take their responsibilities to staff, and to the law, seriously.

“These low paid care workers were not properly consulted on plans to cut their pay, hours and overtime. UNISON was determined that they were not going to get away with flouting their responsibilities to their hardworking staff. We are calling on the employers to drop the expensive legal challenges and resolve this case immediately.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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