FORMER Woolworths employees have been awarded up to £67.8m in compensation.
The shopworkers’ union Usdaw has revealed that more than 24,000 workers who were made redundant when the chain collapsed in 2008 will be awarded 60 days pay.
It is unclear if this will include the staff who lost their jobs when the Huddersfield store shut down early in 2009 as the compensation will not apply to 3,000 former employees who worked in smaller branches where fewer than 20 redundancies were made.
Usdaw won the compensation following an employment tribunal where it claimed the administrators had failed in their legal duty to consult with the union before making redundancies.
Because the defunct chain was in administration at the time of the redundancies, responsibility for the compensation payments rests with the taxpayer through the Government’s Redundancy Payments Office.
John Gorle, Usdaw national officer said: “While the award is never going to fully compensate people for losing their jobs, I’m sure our members will welcome the money and appreciate the effort Usdaw has made to secure the compensation for them.
“However, I’m once again bitterly disappointed that a tribunal has limited the scope of the award.
“The fact that some of our members won’t be compensated simply because their store had less than 20 employees is just plain wrong and shows the gaping loophole and injustice of the current legislation.”
An Insolvency Service spokesman said: “All eligible claimants will receive their claim forms by the end of February 2012.”