Dismissed lorry staff win pounds 3m

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The Independent Online
RECEIVERS at the collapsed Leyland Daf lorry and van company acted unlawfully in sacking 2,400 workers, an industrial tribunal decided yesterday, writes Barrie Clement.

The tribunal awarded the workers pounds 1,460 each in a pounds 3m package, which will be borne by taxpayers. Because the Dutch-owned company no longer exists, all compensation will have to be met from the National Insurance Fund.

The tribunal in the West Midlands attacked criticised the accountants Arthur Andersen, who were appointed as receivers, for failing to give workers the statutory 90 days' notice or consult them.

The firm made 1,635 staff redundant in February and more soon afterwards. It owned plants at Birmingham, Glasgow, Chorley and Leyland in Lancashire and Thame, Oxfordshire.

Michael Short, lawyer for the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said the tribunal had made it clear there was no excuse for the 'brutal and unfair' manner of the sackings.

Arthur Andersen last night rejected criticism. It pointed to a conflict between insolvency law, giving it the responsibility to keep the enterprise going, and employment law, demanding prolonged consultations.