Settlement secured for unfairly dismissed North West drug treatment staff10 March 2017
The seven UNISON members were left out of work after a job transfer
A group of workers supporting adults with addiction issues have won a six-figure settlement after their new employer left them jobless and without redundancy pay.
The seven have secured nearly £178,000 in compensation after Thompsons Solicitors and UNISON backed their case against Arch Initiatives. They took Arch to an employment tribunal for refusing to take on the staff when their jobs were transferred from Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation trust (GMW).
Arch Initiatives claimed the employees’ contract was solely for managing addiction treatment patients, but the substance misuse workers roles and duties went beyond this, therefore the company said it was not responsible for them.
But the employment tribunal ruled that Arch acted unfairly in dismissing the seven who were left out of work and with no redundancy pay.
Denise Holcroft, 41, was among those staff who lost their jobs. She had worked for GMW for more than three years but was forced to take lower paid work elsewhere and on less hours until she found a full-time role.
Denise said: “There’s never a good time to be told you’re out of a job, but this was so stressful. I couldn’t pay my bills and had to take what work I could just to cover my mortgage.
“Without UNISON and Thompsons I don’t know what I would have done. I initially felt quite intimidated about taking on an employer, especially as I had no real connection with Arch Initiatives, but I was kept well informed of everything relating to my case, meaning that I spent time focusing on getting stable employment. I felt looked after every step of the way.”
UNISON North West spokesperson for health, Amy Barringer, said: “It’s daunting for staff being transferred to a new employer, and utterly destabilising for them when the process is handled incorrectly.
“Arch Initiatives refused to play by the rules, but UNISON ensured it was held accountable and staff were properly compensated. We’ll continue to challenge bosses who ignore the law. ”
Jamie Humphries, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Denise and the other six UNISON members were casualties of an unnecessary dispute between GMW and Arch Initiatives, which left them out of work and out of pocket. Their jobs should have been transferred across under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations, but Arch Initiatives refused to play by the rules. Being transferred to a new employer can be a daunting process at the best of times but if it is not handled correctly, for reasons completely outside of the employee’s control, it’s hugely destabilising.
“Working together with UNISON, we ensured that Arch Initiatives was held accountable and the seven members were properly compensated for the way they were treated.”