The Leeds Employment Tribunal has ruled in Unite’s favour in a Protective Award claim against the defunct printing business YM Group on behalf of over 300 former employees.
The tribunal's ruling has effectively paved the way for hundreds of workers to receive payments.
A Protective Award is a payment ordered by an employment tribunal when an employer fails to consult adequately with their employees or their representatives (typically a recognised trade union) about substantial redundancies.
Thompsons Solicitors represented the workers on behalf of Unite. The tribunal ruled that Unite was the only claimant with jurisdiction to bring this claim forward on behalf of its members.
The claim follows the collapse of YM Group's printing firm Pindar in Scarborough, York Mailing Ltd in York and YM Chantry Lane in Wakefield. The companies went into administration on March 31, 2022. Around 600 employees were laid off, with many left unpaid.
"We made a claim on behalf of 300-plus Unite members at YM’s plants, and the judge has made an award to all employees on the back of Unite’s claim,” explained Unite regional officer Darren Rushworth.
The tribunal has awarded the maximum 90-day award to the former employees. This is capped at eight weeks and £571 per week based on last year's rate, which will provide financial relief to the affected workers. Rushworth added, "For the benefit of the majority, it’s been a really good outcome. It has brought the whole thing to a close."
James Cooper from Thompsons who represented Unite at the Tribunal said:
"At the time of the firms’ collapse, Rushworth criticised YM’s directors' behaviour as 'absolutely disgraceful' after workers were led to believe they would be paid and encouraged to work overtime."