Shop workers wait for payout ruling

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Thousands of workers at high street stores which went out of business are set to hear if they have won a long battle for compensation.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will rule today on whether 3,200 ex-employees of Woolworths and 1,200 former staff at Ethel Austin should receive any money.

The workers missed out because they were based in stores employing fewer than 20 staff, whereas their colleagues in larger sites qualified for compensation.

The shopworkers’ union Usdaw has been fighting for compensation since Woolworths collapsed in 2008, while clothing chain Ethel Austin went out of business five years ago.

Under UK law, workers in smaller stores are excluded from an obligation to consult over redundancies and do not qualify for compensation.

Usdaw’s campaign suffered a setback earlier this year when the ECJ’s advocate general rejected the union’s case.

General secretary John Hannett said: “Our case is morally and logically robust, with thousands of workers pinning their hopes on the final judgment.

“It is unfair and makes no sense that workers in stores of less than 20 employees were denied compensation, whereas their colleagues in larger stores did quality.”

Usdaw believes the outcome has implications for workers in other small stores run by companies which have gone out of business.

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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