A 62-year-old from Newcastle has received more than £6,000 in compensation after he was unfairly dismissed from his job following a transfer of undertakings (TUPE).

RMT member Michael Lumsden started working for MITIE in 2008 as a cleaning operative at a facility in Newcastle, on a 30 hour-a-week contract. In April 2016, his employment transferred to Hi-Spec Facilities Services Plc, where he was given a new contract of employment stating the same hours of employment.

Two months after starting work with Hi-Spec they informed him that his working hours were being reduced to 12 hours a week. Michael did not accept these changes and tried to discuss the changes with his employer but they refused to discuss it with him. He continued to work but made it clear that he did not accept the changes and was working under protest.

"Thompsons Solicitors is proud to stand side-by-side with the trade union movement and support workers who aren’t given a fair deal at work. This case highlights the importance of employers following the regulations, and the consequences they will face if they don’t."

Ranjit O’Mahony
of Thompsons Solicitors

Michael turned to his trade union, the RMT, and contacted employment law specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to make a claim for compensation. They argued that the employer had essentially dismissed Michael from his 30 hour a week contract and re-engaged him on a 12.5 hour contract. Also, the employer had not followed the TUPE regulations, which state that contractual changes can only be made for an ‘economic, technical or organisational’ reason entailing changes in the workforce, and therefore the changes to his contract were void. Thompsons pursued a compensation claim for Michael for his full loss following the changes to his contract.

A settlement was secured so that Michael had payment for his lost wages and holidays, on the basis that he would take paid redundancy, which he accepted.

“The service I received from the RMT and Thompsons Solicitors was excellent,” said Michael. “Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take on my employer and recoup the money I lost when they decided to cut my hours against my will.

“It’s a shame that my years of service ended in such a negative way, but if I wasn’t a trade union member, it could have been a lot worse as I would not have had the backing of free legal support from experts in their field.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “Our member turned to us in his time of need and we worked closely with the employment rights team at Thompsons Solicitors to investigate his claim and ensure a swift conclusion.

“As a trade union member, he kept 100 per cent of the compensation secured, without any deductions, which would not have been the case if he had used a high street solicitor.”

Ranjit O’Mahony, of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “Thompsons Solicitors is proud to stand side-by-side with the trade union movement and support workers who aren’t given a fair deal at work. This case highlights the importance of employers following the regulations, and the consequences they will face if they don’t.”