Leeds employment tribunal rules in favour of former City Link workers sacked on Christmas Day

Claimants represented by Morrish Solicitors have won their case at an employment tribunal for being unfairly sacked by City Link on Christmas Day.

The Leeds tribunal ruled that the parcel delivery company had failed in its statutory duty to consult with the former workers about impending redundancies. 258 of the claimants were represented by Morrish Solicitors and were awarded 90 days’ pay.

City Link fell into serious financial difficulty in 2013 and was acquired for £1 in April that year by Better Capital. By early November 2014 City Link had clear plans to implement a turnaround plan involving wide-scale redundancies and by mid-November 2014 it was clear there were only two options – implementation of that plan or insolvency.

However employees were kept in the dark throughout. By 22 December 2014, administrators were called in and their appointment was announced in the media on Christmas Day. By New Year’s Eve 2,500 employees had been made redundant without appointing any employee representatives and without any consultation.

On 23 May 2016, the Leeds employment tribunal decided that “a conscious decision, for the financial benefit of City Link Ltd and Better Capital, was taken not to inform the employees or carry out any consultation.”

It also said that “the consequence of that decision was that employees who could have been told on 22 December 2014 what was happening, perhaps been given information about redundancy payments, notice periods and so on, were told nothing. That led to their finding out that they had lost their jobs on the news on Christmas Day.”

City Link tried to defend its actions, suggesting that Better Capital was to blame due to “delaying the decision about whether it would invest further funds.” City Link stated that when its final investment request was rejected on 22 December 2014, it could not in practice inform and consult with employees within the specified timescales. But the tribunal rejected that defence after hearing witness evidence and arguments from claimants’ representatives.

The Tribunal said “there was a deliberate and calculated decision not to comply with their legal obligations.”  It said that “No mitigating features have been identified and in those circumstances the Tribunal considers that it is just and equitable to award the full period of 90 days in this case to all eligible claimants.”

Daniel Kindell, an associate at Morrish Solicitors stated: “We hope the Tribunal’s decision gives ex-employees of City Link some sense of justice. It can only be described as a travesty that successful claimants can only claim a small proportion of this award from the Government’s National Insurance Fund and City Link can continue to rely on its state of insolvency to the further detriment of those who worked so hard for it.”