A Liverpool employment tribunal has backed 208 members of Unite working for HMS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Liverpool Mutual Homes) in a long running dispute over employment protection rights following the collapse of housing maintenance firm Kinetics in June 2011.
Following its insolvency in June 2011, the Kinetics work was taken over by HMS on 1 July 2011.
Backing the union’s argument that the workforce should have been employed with continuity of service, judge Ryan decided that TUPE regulations should have applied and that the workers should have transferred directly from Kinetics to HMS.
He went on to rule that the fact that there was a three week period when the workers did not actually attend at the workplace did not mean that TUPE was not applicable.
Hailing the determination of its members Unite called on HMS’ parent company LMH to stop dodging its responsibilities and compensate the workers.
Unite regional secretary Mick Whitley said: “This is a landmark victory and testament to the determination of our members who have endured two years of uncertainty to get justice. The way they have been treated is a disgrace.
“We will continue to support our members at HMS and in all workplaces where basic employment rights are being infringed.
“HMS' parent company LMH needs to stop avoiding its responsibilities though protracted legal action and compensate the members involved.”
Howard Beckett, Unite director of legal, affiliated and member services, said: “This victory underlines the importance of being in a trade union and of Unite legal services.
“With government attacks on legal aid and the introduction of tribunal fees, which Unite will cover, being a member of Unite has never been more important.
“Unite will continue to ensure access to justice is not denied and that employers continue to be held to account. We would like to thank their panel Solicitors EAD for their hard work and support of the members throughout.”
The ruling was made on Wednesday 13 May and the employment tribunal will shortly issue a full judgment confirming the decision.
For more information please contact Unite head of media Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869, or Stephen Pinder at EAD Solicitors LLP on 0151 735 1000.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.