GMB condemn Sussex furniture makers Collins and Hayes as they lay off up to a third of their staff and refuse to pay redundancy

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Collins and Hayes, the Hastings based furniture makers owned by private equity fund users Wessex Bristol, have written to staff over the weekend informing them that they are surplus to requirements and that despite the business continuing to trade, those dismissed will not be paid redundancy. Instead, they have simply been told to contact the governments funded redundancy payments service if they want to be paid.

Collins and Hayes Furniture Ltd has seen a decline since they were sold by Airsprung Group plc in July 2016 to private equity fund users Wessex Bristol. The first the staff knew of this was when they all received P45’s in the post during a seasonal shutdown of the factory in July 2016, making staff believe that they had lost their jobs and leading subsequently to staff being forced to change their contracts to stay in employment.

Staff were instructed to attend a meeting on 10th April 2017 and told some of them will be temporary laid off for 4 weeks. Individual letters were handed out informing at least 11 workers that they had been selected with immediate effect and without warning. Staff asked how the selection process was done to identify those selected, but were refused an answer.

When challenged by GMB, Collins and Hayes response has been one of silence. Instead they have decided to spend their time trying to prevent GMB representing its members by claiming they have now stop recognising the union without due process, and therefore they will not engage in talks to resolve these unfair sackings.

GMB will be seeking a legal view on behalf of member’s regarding this unfair dismissal and clear failure to consult, and continue to look at all options available to get fair treatment from the asset stripping owners of this long established Sussex furniture maker.

Declan Macintyre, GMB Regional Organiser said, “Shame on Collins and Hayes, its senior management and Wessex Bristol. What a way to treat staff, an impersonal letter through the door over the weekend not only telling you that your job has gone, but then saying we are not even going to pay statutory contractual redundancy, you should just go and try to get something from the RPS yourself.

“The weekend’s news will have left at least a dozen families shell shocked, as staff members and their families now have to not only seek to find a new job but to also look to chase down their rightfully owed redundancy payments. Just how disrespectful and unappreciative of the service they will have all given the company is that?

“Poor treatment of staff to protect the pockets of those asset strippers who neither care for the long history of the company’s they ruin and the staff whose lives are affected by shoddy business tactics is not acceptable and if Collins and Hayes think claiming that GMB are no longer recognised will stop us supporting our members robustly in seeking what’s right both legally and industrially for them, then they don’t know GMB.”

Contact: Declan Macintyre on 07773311836 or Charles Harrity on 07977518042