Three UNISON members have been awarded compensation after they were unfairly dismissed during a transfer of undertakings (TUPE).

The play group nursery workers from Rhondda Cynon Taf, south Wales, were informed that they were being transferred to a new employer. After the transfer, they were instructed to take part in a consultation with the new employer to negotiate the terms and conditions of their jobs.

During the consultation, the women were told that they would have to accept a cut in their pay and hours or face dismissal. The cuts in pay and hours being proposed by the new employer were extremely drastic and resulted in the workers losing more than half of their basic income. Two of the women accepted the new terms, but the third didn’t and, as a result, was fired.

Following her dismissal, she contacted UNISON who instructed employment law specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate whether she had been unfairly dismissed.

An Employment Tribunal ruled in her favour and she was awarded more than £17,000 in compensation. The other two women also made claims with Thompsons, securing settlements of £8,000 and nearly £2,000 respectively.

The UNISON member said: “I’d worked in childcare for more than 12 years, so I felt comfortable that I would be treated fairly when it came to being transferred to a new employer. However, almost straight after the transfer, we were suddenly told to accept new terms or have nothing.

“It was devastating having to tell people that I’d lost my job. I’ve since found alternative work, but I’m getting paid a lot less and I don’t feel as secure in my role. My confidence has also taken a hit, so I’m glad that I had the support of my union to make sure that I could prove that my employer had wronged me - not the other way around.”

Mark Alaszewski, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “It is wrong that these women had their employment transferred and were then immediately told to accept significant and unjustified pay cuts.

“Working together with UNISON, we will always fight for members who have been mistreated at work to ensure that those who are wronged have a strong voice to take on poor employers.”