Sacked rail workers win compensation

Jarvis workers on protest march through Doncaster
Jarvis workers on protest march through Doncaster

Hundreds of former rail workers from Doncaster are set to be paid compensation for losing their jobs when their firm went bust last year.

They will receive a share of more than £3 million but some will get less than others and there is a bitter aftertaste because the taxpayer is having to fund it.

A total of around 300 track maintenance workers from the Doncaster depot in Ten Pound Walk were among 1,200 Jarvis Rail staff who were sacked without warning in Spring 2010 when the company went into administration.

The employees - of which 350 were based in York, 300 in Doncaster and 80 in Leeds - arrived for work on March 31 last year to be told they were unemployed.

The shock dismissals sparked a massive campaign by the rail unions and Doncaster town centre was the focus of a major rally last summer in which hundreds of the sacked workers marched to the Mansion House to draw public attention to their plight.

Because the company failed to meet its statutory obligation to consult and give notice an employment tribunal has ruled the staff will be entitled to eight weeks compensation, capped at £380 per week.

And with Jarvis no longer in existence, the Government will foot the bill.

The tribunal in Leeds heard that any staff who were unable to find work and therefore claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance will have that, and any other relevant benefits, docked from their compensation.

Union bosses said it was disappointing that a number of workers, particularly those holding management positions, found employment swiftly and would therefore get more compensation than those who have been left jobless.

Bill Rawcliffe, of Justice for Jarvis Workers and a member of the RMT union, said: “This is only the first hurdle and the result is pretty much what was expected because employment legislation clearly states if you do not receive notice you are entitled to claim compensation.

“We think it is a disgrace that the compensation is being paid for by the taxpayer.

“That money should be paid by Network Rail which owed millions in work that had been already carried out by Jarvis workers.

“What is also difficult to take is compensation will have Jobseeker’s Allowance and other benefits knocked off.

“But the management who did not have to claim benefits as they went round the revolving door and straight into other jobs will get the whole payout.”

Claims against Jarvis will continue with at least 600 unfair dismissal claims likely to be made.

Toni Haynes, of Morrish Solicitors, said: “We are obviously pleased with the compensation offer - it is the maximum that we could have asked for.”