Usdaw wins justice for former Kleeneze workers and calls for reform of insolvancy law to protect staff and taxpayers

Date published: 21 March 2019

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has won justice for its members who worked for Kleeneze, after the Manchester Employment Tribunal granted a protective award because the staff were not properly consulted about their redundancy, as required by law.

In April 2018, around 140 staff were sacked at two sites, in Heywood and Accrington when the company suddenly went into administration.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “Yet again the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill for what is owed to sacked staff because administrators deliberately flouted the law. It's absolutely disgraceful that workers can be treated in this way in the 21st century.

“The former staff at Kleeneze have had to wait for nearly a year for this decision, having already been through the trauma of losing their job and being forced to seek justice through a lengthy tribunal process. The company and administrators failed to consult or treat staff with dignity and respect, so the tribunal decided to make a maximum award to the former staff.

“This area of law requires review because it is riddled with injustices for both workers and taxpayers as liability to pay the protective awards when companies are in administration falls to the Government’s insolvency fund. The Government needs to end the perverse financial incentive for employers and Administrators not to comply with legal obligations on collective redundancy consultation.”

Kleeneze ceased trading and went into administration on 12 April 2018, impacting 140 staff at their Heywood and Accrington sites.

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