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The shopworkers union Usdaw has won compensation worth up to £67.8 million for over 24,000 former employees of Woolworths made redundant when the firm collapsed at the end of 2008.
The high street retailer went into administration on 27th November 2008 and by early January 2009 the administrators had closed all of Woolworths stores, offices and distribution centres and made nearly 30,000 people redundant in the process.
Usdaw made a claim on behalf of its members for a Protective Award after the administrators failed in their legal duty to consult with the union before making redundancies. The Employment Tribunal finally heard the case involving members employed in England, Scotland and Wales in late November 2011.
The Employment Tribunal in London found that the administrators had failed in their legal obligations to consult with Usdaw and awarded its members compensation of 60 days pay, capped at £330 a week, the maximum payable in these circumstances.
However, the compensation award excludes all former employees who happened to work in smaller stores where fewer than 20 redundancies were made. This means around 3,000 employees who worked in around 180 of the 814 stores covered by today’s judgement may never receive compensation.