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Usdaw tribunal win for former Haldanes staff but injustice continues for workers in small stores

Date: 15 March 2016 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has won a full 90 day protective award for their members who worked for Haldanes after they bought 21 Somerfield stores and 5 Co-op stores between November 2009 and April 2010 and closed them just over a year later in June 2011, resulting in around 600 job losses.
The company failed to consult with Usdaw, as the recognised trade union, under section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. There was a separate claim for senior managers at former Somerfield stores, who were not covered by the recognition agreement, for a failure under section 188A to elect employee representatives.

Darren Miller – Usdaw Head of Legal Services says: “This claim came about because the company hid their difficulties, and despite reports in the press that they were struggling, only let Usdaw know just 5 days before they closed most of their stores on 14 June 2011 and the remainder on the 29th. So they failed to properly consult and give staff proper notice, as required by law, the tribunal found in our favour and gave the maximum award.

“The claim had been postponed pending a European Court decision on the Woolworths and Ethel Austin case. Unfortunately that case was lost, so the staff from stores of less than 20 employees do not qualify for this award. This is grossly unfair to those staff. As was the case in Woolworths and Ethel Austin, this was a national company taking a central decision to close, they failed to consult and give proper notice; so it should not make any difference what size store staff worked in.”

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are pleased to have fought an injustice and won for our members who worked in stores of 20 or more employees; but remain frustrated and angry that a Conservative-led Government fought tooth and nail to deny justice for workers in stores of less than 20 staff.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

Stores with 20 employees or more that closed and staff qualified for the award:
  • Ellon former Somerfield, Aberdeenshire – 22 staff
  • Prestonpans former Somerfield, East Lothian – 28 staff
  • Tranent former Somerfield, East Lothian – 21 staff
  • Buckie former Somerfield, Moray Firth – 21 staff
  • Crief former Co-op, Perth and Kinross – 21 staff
  • Carluke former Somerfield, South Lanarkshire – 38 staff
  • Larkhall former Somerfield, South Lanarkshire – 49 staff
  • Kelso former Somerfield, Scottish Borders – 47 staff
  • Broxburn former Somerfield, West Lothian – 21 staff
  • Wigton former Co-op, Cumbria – 28 staff
  • Belper former Somerfield, Derbyshire – 30 staff
  • Royton former Co-op, Greater Manchester – 20 staff
  • Tattershall former Somerfield, Lincolnshire – 43 staff
  • Kirkby-in-Ashfield former Somerfield, Nottinghamshire – 22 staff
  • Carterton former Somerfield, Oxfordshire – 21 staff
  • Biddulph former Co-op, Staffordshire – 23 staff
Stores of less than 20 employees that closed and staff didn’t qualify for the award:
  • Fraserburgh former Somerfield, Aberdeenshire – 13 staff
  • Arbroath former Somerfield, Angus – 14 staff
  • Forfar former Somerfield, Angus – 14 staff
  • Shawlands former Somerfield, Glasgow – 17 staff
  • Larkhall (former Somerfield) Post Office, South Lanarkshire – 5 staff
  • Wick former Somerfield, Scottish Highlands – 18 staff
  • Ramsey former Somerfield, Cambridgeshire – 19 staff
  • Dovercourt former Somerfield, Essex – 19 staff
  • Tattershall (former Somerfield) Post Office, Lincolnshire – 9 staff
  • Biddulph (former Co-op) Post Office, Staffordshire – 8 staff
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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