Former J Rotherham Masonry staff awarded £328,000

Part of the premises of J Rotherham at Holme-On-Spalding Moor. Now 99 former employees have received compensation for not being consulted about their redundancy when the company went into administration last year.

Ninety-nine former J Rotherham Masonry staff have won a pay-out total of £328,713 following the company’s collapse. 

The staff were made redundant without consultation when the business went into administration in February last year. An industrial tribunal has now ruled that the company failed in its duty to consult staff. The payment will be made from a government fund.

Established in 1927 and based in Yorkshire, J Rotherham shed some 200 jobs at its head office at Holme-On-Spalding Moor and its manufacturing facility at Market Weighton when it went into administration.

The case brought on behalf of 99 of those employees was heard at an employment tribunal last year, and the award has now been made after a judge found that the kitchen worktop and firelace company had failed in its legal obligation to formally consult with its staff during the ‘redundancy consultation period’. 

The judgment follows legal action carried out by employment law experts at Simpson Millar and comes in the form of Protective Awards claimed from the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), part of the Government’s Insolvency Service. 

Anita North, an employment law expert at Simpson Millar, says: “Following the collapse of J Rotherham Masonry we were instructed by almost 100 employees who were affected as a result of redundancy.

“While they understood the challenges faced by the owners of the business, the individuals impacted were left out of work with almost no notice and no financial security to aid them while they looked for alternative employment.

“We are delighted to have now secured a Protective Award totalling in excess of £328,000 on their behalf, which we hope will provide some peace of mind and comfort following what has undoubtedly been a very stressful and challenging time.”

A Protective Award is up to 90 days' gross pay that can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal for failure by an employer to follow the correct procedure when making redundancies. The RPS also pays other funds owed to employees, including redundancy pay, arrears of holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice. While these claims can be made by an employee completing a form online, a claim for a Protective Award requires a formal employment tribunal judgment. 

Anita North says: “While many people assume that job losses are simply inevitable if a business enters into administration, not least after the last year when so many companies have been impacted by the pandemic, in reality employers do still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancy. 

“When that law is disregarded it is possible to hold the company to account through an Employment Tribunal.

“Of course, the process to claim for a Protective Award does not result in an influx of cash immediately, and this has been exacerbated by the lengthy delays in the Employment Tribunals nationwide, which are also still suffering from the impact of Covid, with a 60% increase in employment law claims as a result of Covid. 

“Nevertheless, legal protection remains in place to support people who are made redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process and the money recovered in successful claims will provide some longer-term security for those affected.

“We represent thousands of individuals across multiple industries who have been affected in the same way the J Rotherham Masonry staff were with regards job losses and our clients are grateful for at least some closure to enable them to move forward with their lives.”