Former Thanet Print workers awarded £360k over dismissals
FORMER print workers have been awarded £360,000 for unfair dismissal from the former GC Print.
The decision follows a two-year battle in which trade union Unite took the former Westwood Press Ltd to an employment tribunal following its 2009 liquidation.
Former Thanet Press employee Roy Taylor said: "I always believed that the way in which myself and colleagues were dismissed was wrong.
"I'm obviously gutted that it is unlikely we will see our deserved entitlement.
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"It looks likely it will turn out to be a hollow victory."
GC Print had been accused of failing to consult employees over job redundancies and the transfer of business from one company to another – otherwise known as the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) or TUPE.
For each instance the 20 claimants represented by Unite were awarded 90 days' and 13 weeks' pay respectively.
The members will be able to recover some of this money from the Redundancy Payment Office.
Phillip Moore was the main shareholder with GC Print and had purchased Thanet Press Ltd just before GC Print went into liquidation.
Thanet Press Ltd, GC Publishing Ltd and Thanet Publishing Ltd were also respondents in the case.
All the companies had Mr Moore as a director and have now all now gone into liquidation.
He had told employees at both Thanet Press and GC Print that he intended to merge the two factories by 2011.
In March 2009 workers turned up at GC Print only to be told that the company had gone into liquidation.
Mr Moore had then proceeded to transfer the diary printing work from GC Print to Thanet Press.
By March 2011 Thanet Press employees had also been sent home without warning after that company also went into administration.
The claims arising out of the closure of Thanet Press were the subject of a hearing in December 2011.
The Union was awarded the maximum 90 day protective award in respect of the failure to consult on redundancies.
To date Unite says it members have received approximately £100,000 compensation from the Redundancy Payments Office.
Tim Elliot of Unite said: "I've been involved with our members throughout these closures and am personally delighted with the Tribunals decision.
"I would like to thank our legal team Thompsons, John Sampson our barrister and Roy Taylor for all of the work they have put into this result."
Mr Taylor added: "I'm indebted to Unite for supporting us and proving our case in the court."
We asked Mr Moore to comment on the decision, he had not contacted us as we went to press.