Unison victory for Lambeth Council workers

Private company Capita has been severely criticised for failure to provide vital information and to consult fully with UNISON in relation to the proposed redundancy of 36 call centre workers.

The UNISON members have each been awarded 45 day’s pay in compensation, following the decision by an Employment Tribunal in Croydon, Surrey.

The redundancies arose when Lambeth Council’s call-centre workers transferred to Capita in late 2011 who later moved its Brixton facility to Southampton.

UNISON asked for the compulsory agency worker information to help protect the Brixton based workers as part of the consultation over redundancies.

Capita refused to provide the information to the union claiming that they had fully complied with the law.

The union welcomed the Tribunal’s decision, and the remarks from the judge saying that he found “the complaint by UNISON to be well-founded”.

The Tribunal’s decision is still one of the first cases, brought under provisions introduced at the same time as the Agency Workers’ Regulations in October 2011.

They require employers to provide information on the agency workers engaged during collective redundancy consultation.

Dave Prentis General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“Our members at Lambeth have been treated very badly by Capita. Being transferred out of your job into a private company is hard enough, but if that company then asks you to work in Southampton, you should be entitled to all the information you need.

“Today’s decision reinforces the rights of workers when they are under threat of redundancy or transfer. We had a similar successful decision in Barnet only last month and this should again act as a wake up call to other councils and private contractors that they must provide information on agency workers to unions or suffer the consequences.

“Workers need to be protected from having their rights ridden over roughshod. The Employment Tribunal decision is recognition of the difficulties that unions face when employers withhold information that could and should be given.”

Jon Rogers, Lambeth UNISON Branch Secretary, said: “It was bad enough that Lambeth Council privatised the service so that Capita could move it to Southampton – but Capita added insult to injury by failing to comply with the law. At least now those workers will get some recompense.”

Further analysis can be seen on  Jon’s website.

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