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UK – Agency workers to receive payouts by council

06 February 2013

More than 150 workers hired by a London borough are set to receive compensation worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, following a landmark decision on Tuesday.  The employment tribunal in Watford ruled that Barnet council was in breach of changes to TUPE regulations (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) brought in by the Agency Workers’ Regulations.

The regulation requires employers to provide information on the agency workers engaged during TUPE transfers and collective redundancy consultation.

The tribunal decided that the council had failed to inform the public service trade union UNISON on the number of agency workers employed by the council. It made protective awards of 60 days’ and compensation of 40 and 50 days’ pay in respect of two transfers and a redundancy exercise that took place last year.

The judge in the case described Barnet’s refusal to provide information as “a relatively serious failure”. And UNISON said the decision, upholding the requirement to provide information on agency workers, has important ramifications for other unions, to help them negotiate more effectively and avoid redundancies.

“Today’s landmark decision is an important step forward in protecting workers when they are under threat of redundancy or transfer. It must act as a warning to other councils that they must provide information on agency workers to unions or suffer the consequences,” said Dave Prentis of UNISON.

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