A union has reacted with “anger” as former employees of two Angus retailers have lost out on compensation.
Around 600 people lost their jobs at Somerfield and Co-op stores across the UK after they were bought by Haldanes in 2009-10 and closed at short notice over a year later.
Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has won a maximum 90-day pay award for some of their members who worked in larger supermarkets.
However ex-employees of the former Somerfield stores in Arbroath and Forfar have not qualified for the claims as their workplaces were too small.
Each store had 14 employees, with the bar for compensation set at a minimum of 20 branded “grossly unfair”.
Former workers at other Scottish stores in Ellon (22 staff), Crieff (21), Kelso (47), and Broxburn (21) will receive three months’ wages.
Haldanes bought 21 Somerfield stores and five Co-op stores between November 2009 and April 2010 and closed them in June 2011.
A UK tribunal found Haldanes failed to consult with Usdaw under section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
The union’s general secretary said he was “frustrated” that smaller stores have lost out.
John Hannett said: “We are pleased to have fought an injustice and won for our members who worked in stores of 20 or more employees but remain frustrated and angry that a Conservative-led government fought tooth and nail to deny justice for workers in stores of less than 20 staff.”
The union’s head of legal services, Darren Miller, said: “This claim came about because the company hid their difficulties, and despite reports in the press that they were struggling, only let Usdaw know just five days before they closed most of their stores on June 14 2011 and the remainder on the 29th.
“So they failed to properly consult and give staff proper notice, as required by law, the tribunal found in our favour and gave the maximum award.
“The claim had been postponed pending a European Court decision on the Woolworths and Ethel Austin case.
“Unfortunately that case was lost, so the staff from stores of less than 20 employees do not qualify for this award.
“This is grossly unfair to those staff. They failed to consult and give proper notice, so it shouldn’t make any difference what size store staff worked in.”