WORKERS at two Huddersfield mills have welcomed a £1m payout after losing their jobs.
Staff who worked at the two huge mills in the town won an estimated £1m in damages.
But the 242 staff, each awarded 90 day's pay by a Leeds Tribunal yesterday after being made redundant by Huddersfield Fine Worsted and sister firm Globe Worsted, may not get all the cash.
The company has gone bust and cannot pay and the Government could cap any payouts.
More than 20 of the staff laid off by the firms were present to hear the ruling.
Jane Eastwood, of Linthwaite, was made redundant in January after working as a spinner for the past 19 years.
"I was devastated," said the mother of two. "I have young children who depend on my wage. Then without any warning it was gone.
"I had been in textiles for a lot of years and although there were always a lot of rumours about job losses I expected to be treated better than I was by the management.
"It has been a long battle but I do think that justice has been done now.
"We knew we could not just let them get away with what they had done.
"The other sad thing was the way we feel they attempted to trick us. I think they knew exactly what was going to happen for a long time before it did."
Colour matcher Chris Conway was told just days before Christmas he was no longer needed.
"I was prepared to be told there were going to be redundancies and for the consultation process to start," said the father of two.
"I was shocked when they told me to go home at dinnertime. I just hope other companies take note of what was said by Mrs Christine Lee, the tribunal chairman.
"Management cannot just do whatever it wants."
Now Government officials will decide exactly how much each person will receive.
Other claims of unfair dismissal by more than 20 staff were accepted but a decision on damages will be made on a later date.
The tribunal heard yesterday how the first batch of redundancies came without warning on December 20 last year. Between then and May 24 the workforce has left and the companies are no longer trading.
Although no representatives from the firms were in court bosses had claimed there had been no breach of contract under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.
But chairman of the tribunal Mrs Lee accepted the evidence of 10 former workers that the company - with mills in Kirkheaton and Slaithwaite - had failed to follow the correct dismissal procedure.
Staff should have been told redundancies were possible and given the chance to form an elected committee to hold talks with bosses.
Instead it was said management ordered staff to attend meetings to "pass on information to workmates".
Mrs Lee said: "We have accepted the evidence in particular that those meetings held first in August and up to December 20 were ad hoc.
"Members of staff were selected by management to attend in order to pass on information to their colleagues. These were not the meetings of a workforce committee.
"We also accept the evidence from the witnesses that they were not told at any of these meetings there could be redundancies.
"In respect of the claimants we award damages for a breach of contract."
Department of Trade officials are still investigating concerns about the rundown of the companies, after complaints by local MPs Kali Mountford and Barry Sheerman.