Staff who were dismissed from beleaguered clothing firm USC, are beginning to take legal action, following claims that they received no more than 15 mins’ consultation over their job losses.
The fast fashion chain, owned by Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, went into administration last month and was subsequently bought out by Republic, another of Ashley’s firms. In total, 79 permanent members of staff and 166 agency (or zero-hour contract) workers were made redundant at the Dundonald depot.
Ashley, who is already facing politicians pressing to launch a full parliamentary investigation into his activities in connection with USC, now faces a legal threat over claims that Business Secretary Vince Cable was given no advance notice of the redundancies, and that the legal 90 day consultation period was also dismissed.
Consultations should begin in good time, and at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect in the case of 100 or more dismissals, or at least 30 days in all other cases. Reportedly, Thompsons Solicitors have agreed to represent workers on a no win, no fee basis.
One staff member told MPs who are calling for an inquiry into what has happened: “Fifteen minutes consultation, that’s all I am worth.”
USC said in December that it was unable to repay its debts and went into administration in January this year.