Stephen Morgan from Newport and a colleague were told they were being made redundant from their jobs as train drivers for DB Schenker Rail UK Ltd in 2008.

The pair were offered lesser roles as driver operators for the firm which would have seen them take an £8,000 a year pay cut.

After a four week trial in the lesser role they both handed in their resignation because they weren’t willing to accept lower pay and less responsibility.

After contacting ASLEF, the trade union’s lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, argued the men were entitled to redundancy pay as they hadn’t been offered suitable alternative employment and were within their rights to turn down the driver operator roles.

Cardiff Employment Tribunal agreed and awarded Mr Morgan over £12,000 in damages and the other union member £8,000.

Both men have since found new jobs as mainline train drivers for First Great Western.

Mr Morgan said: “I am over the moon with this result. I felt we were justified to fight for this compensation. We shouldn’t have been obliged to take a lesser paid role with less responsibility when we knew that we could be working as train drivers. As far as we were concerned we hadn’t been offered a realistic alternative role.”

Keith Norman ASLEF General Secretary added: “This case shows how trade unions help members through the sometimes complicated minefield of employment law. Many employees might have just accepted the lesser paid role or have left without redundancy but we were able to back up the members gut instinct that there was something wrong”

Claire Anthony from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Employees offered alternative employment have four weeks to consider the suitability of the new role. These members decided a significant reduction in status and salary was unacceptable and as such they were entitled to turn down the roles. It should have followed that they received a redundancy payment. This has now happened thanks to the employment tribunal.”