Former Manchester Working staff compensated for failed employment transfer

compensationA dozen employees originally employed by Manchester Working (MW) have received compensation payouts after they were left jobless due to a failed employment transfer.

The workers secured almost £65,000 after their elected employee representative Jane Deegan brought claims for failure to inform and consult under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations (Tupe) at the Manchester Employment Tribunal.

In 2019, Manchester City Council re-tendered its public buildings maintenance and repair service, which had been provided by MW and was then won by Engie Services, now known as Equans Services. On 1 May that year, the workers were turned away from an induction for transferring employees hosted by Engie at the Etihad Stadium after being told they were not in scope and should return to the MW Manchester office, where they were told they no longer worked for the business.

The compensation settlement for each of the 12 displaced employees represents nine weeks of gross pay. Trade union Unite and Thompsons Solicitors argued that MW had loaded the Tupe list to offload the workers to Engie despite the new employer stating they were not in scope of the public buildings contract. Engie also paid out the equivalent of four weeks of gross pay to 45 other workers who were transferred.

Jamie Humphries, an employment rights lawyer at Thompsons’ Manchester office, said: “In an age where employers are becoming more brazen in their attacks on workers’ rights, emboldened by a government that is actively seeking to erode and eliminate these hard-fought provisions, it is more important than ever that we and the trade union movement stand up for mistreated workers using the existing employment law.”

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Andrew Fisher, regional officer at Unite, added: “This is a clear example of how employers often try to avoid their legal obligations and responsibilities to their employees, by riding roughshod over individual’s employment rights simply to try to save money.”

Manchester Working was contacted for comment prior to publication.