HUNDREDS of ex Thomas Cook staff could be in line for thousands of pounds of extra pay on top of their redundancy due to a little known labour law, according to a leading employment lawyer.
Aneil Balgobin of Simpson Millar solicitors says staff who were not told to come into work on Monday are likely to be able to make a claim of up to 90 days extra gross pay.
He says as staff from the collapsed travel firm were not consulted over their collective redundancy, they are able to claim under a little known ‘protective award’ employment law.
And under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 anyone who has been made redundant at a workplace with more than 20 people can submit a claim.
The extra pay would be available for any maintenance hanger crews, engineers and office staff and workers in large Thomas Cook travel superstores which had more than twenty staff.
This includes workers at the main Thomas Cook airport bases in Manchester, Gatwick, Leeds Bradford and Glasgow.
The world’s oldest tour operator folded after 178 years of trading on Monday, leaving around 150,000 Britons stranded all over the world.
Some axed staff were offered a lifeline with other airlines with British Airways, easyJet, Flybe, Tui and Virgin reaching out with potential job opportunities.
Mr Balgobin says his firm has already been approached by ex employees of the fallen tour operator worried about outstanding monies and is already representing more than 60 former employees from collapsed airline FlyBmi and has also advised ex Monarch airline staff on similar claims.
Crying staff leaving Thomas Cook HQ[/caption]
Last night Head of Employment Mr Balgobin – whose firm is also representing workers from failed restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian and has in the past recovered £300k for ex workers of bust Multi York furniture chain – said: “We have had former Thomas Cook workers get in touch with us who are quite rightly very concerned about their futures and being able to pay mortgages, rent and bills.
“I believe there will be thousands of workers out there across the country who worked at the head office in Peterborough or the largest travel superstores and at Manchester, Gatwick and Leeds Bradford airports who could make a claim.
Thomas Cook staff[/caption]
“Workers need to know that they have the right to this extra money and is highly unlikely to be advertised. We are very experienced in this field and have dealt with lots of similar cases.
“It is clear in this case there has been of breach of the act and that there are valid grounds for a claim.
“Staff were entitled to be consulted about the redundancies and that simply did not happen, in fact there was no consultation at all.
“There is no doubt that the affected staff and their families are going to need ongoing financial support in this difficult time and although this law is very niche , it is in place to protect workers in exactly this type of situation.
“Any money is on top of statutory redundancy, notice pay, accrued holiday pay which is paid by a government fund.
“Anyone making a protective award claim needs to get a judgment from an employment tribunal which can be a very daunting process.
“But we are happy to talk anyone through the process and help them get back on their feet at this difficult time.”
‘VALID GROUNDS FOR A CLAIM’
Thomas Cook went into administration in the early hours of Monday morning after bosses were unable to raise a financial rescue package of over £1billion or a government bailout.
More than 9000 staff across the UK were immediately put out of work including more than 1000 staff at their head office in Lynch Wood, Peterborough.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has called on the Insolvency Service (IS) to “fast-track” its investigation of Thomas Cook after workers were outraged over huge bonuses and salaries paid to the tour operator ‘s bosses.
Top executives including Chief executive Peter Frankhauser pocketed more than
£8.4million since 2014, including £4.6million bonus payments while the group’s profits have been in sharp decline.
And Thomas Cook’s former chief financial officer Michael Healy – bagged more than £8m in total.
The Financial Reporting Council, regulator for the accountancy profession, is considering an investigation into the behaviour of the company’s auditors.
And the Civil Aviation Authority launched the UK’s largest peacetime repatriation on Monday, bringing 14,700 Thomas Cook customers home on 64 flights.
While a further 135,000 passengers are expected to be brought back on rescue flights over the next 13 days costing around £100 million.
Thomas Cook customers who have been stranded abroad or who want to make a claim are being urged to check thomascook.caa.co.uk