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19 June 2012
About 1,500 former employees of the Focus DIY chain have been urged by Unite to contact the union so that they can receive a possible 56 days compensation pay.
The windfall could total up to £2,500, depending on the grade the employee was on and the size of store in which they worked.
Unite, the largest union in the country, won an employment tribunal against the company on the grounds that it failed to fully consult Unite when the 123-store nationwide chain collapsed last year.
The tribunal in Manchester awarded the ex-employees, many of them women, 90 days pay, but the maximum that the Redundancy Payments Office can pay out is 56 days.
Unite regional officer, Caroline Crolley said: “At the Manchester employment tribunal last week, Unite was successful in winning a protective award for employees made redundant by the closure of 123 stores at Focus DIY.
“The judgment of the tribunal was that all employees, who were store workers made redundant by Focus in a store employing 20 staff or more should be awarded 90 days compensation.
“We will need to put the claim to the Redundancy Payments Office (RPO) on behalf of those employees that qualify for the compensation.”
Former employees need to contact Caroline Crolley at Unite the union, 6 Victoria Square, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LD or ring 01902 426434 to give their details and to establish how many employees were based at each store.
The protective award was made because Focus failed to have consultations with Unite and therefore breached the legal requirements.
The collapse of Focus sparked a fresh wave of attacks on private equity firms last year, when details emerged of a decade of deal-making and financial engineering in which buyout specialists shared payouts of nearly £1bn.