Company comes under fire over redundancy payments

Published date: 17 April 2014 |
Published by: Rory Sheehan
Read more articles by Rory Sheehan

A UNION official has claimed a company seeking to cut its workforce is going back on an agreement over redunandancy payments.

The Dobson & Crowther factory in Llangollen, which produces bespoke Litho envelopes announced it was cutting its workforce by a third in February.

According to Tony Brady of Unite, the union has an agreement in place which would see those axed receive enhanced redundancy payments.

Mr Brady says, in an effort to save money, Dobson & Crowther is looking to make only statutory redundancy payments.

He said: “There is an agreement in place with us over the terms of redundancy which has been honoured in the past.
“Workers being made redundant would receive an enhanced redundancy package, but the company has lost a big contract, they might not even receive statutory payments.

“We were informed in February, Dobson & Crowther were looking to cut 29 jobs, but no-one has been made redundant yet, so we cannot do anything.
“If they go back on this agreement however, we would have no hesitation in suing them. We have to look after those being made redundant.

“There is a big difference between enhanced redundancy, which would see workers receive two and a half weeks pay per continuous years of service, as opposed to one week’s pay which is statutory.
“We’ve written to the company but not heard back from them since February. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have also contacted the company but not had a response.”

Controversially, the company has given up the site of it’s current factory to Sainsburys to build a new supermarket, with the supermarket giants financing a new factory for Dobson & Crowther across the road.

Dobson & Crowther Managing Director Paul Holden said: “We are going through a very private and confidential process at the moment, and have nothing further to add to our statement from February.”

In the February statement, Mr Holden said: “The company has lost a substantial contract and as a consequence the loss of revenue means we will not be able to sustain current workforce numbers.

“We explained to the union that while we are not yet clear as to the full extent of any headcount reductions we would notify the union as soon as we were in a position to table formal proposals.

“We intend to consult the union and other employee representatives in the proper manner in accordance with our legal obligations.

“In spite of the lost contract, effective from April 2014, the underlying business is robust and remains strong enough to support the majority of our workforce.
“We appreciate this will be a challenging and uncertain period for all our employees and their families.

"We hope, however, that with the support and cooperation of the union and the workforce as a whole we will secure the future of the Dobson and Crowther business in Llangollen, which has been our home since 1946.”


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