Hundreds of ex Thomas Cook staff based at Gatwick Airport could be in line for thousands of pounds of extra pay on top of statutory redundancy according to a little known labour law, says a leading employment lawyer.
Aneil Balgobin of Simpson Millar solicitors says Thomas Cook staff who were told not to come into work on Monday morning are likely to be able to make a claim of up to 90 days extra gross pay.
He says that due to the fact that staff from the collapsed firm were not consulted over their collective redundancy means they are able to claim under a little known ‘protective award’ employment law.
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.
So any maintenance hanger crews, engineers and office staff and workers in large Thomas Cook travel superstores across Sussex whose workplace had more than twenty staff will be eligible to bring a claim for compensation.
Aneil 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.
Last night Head of Employment Mr Balgobin - whose firm Simspon Millar 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 hundreds of workers out there across Sussex who worked at Gatwick airport who could make a claim. 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.”
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