Trade union Unite is suing a logistics giant for its treatment of Threshers delivery workers when it made them redundant.
Unite is seeking compensation from Norbert Dentressangle on behalf of 122 of its members, alleging the logistics company did not adequately consult staff about the redundancies or give them enough pay.
It claims ND only carried out a two-week consultation period when it should have been 30 days and is demanding 90 days’ statutory pay for its members.
The union has also written to ND’s customers, which include Marks & Spencer, to inform them of ND’s treatment of the staff.
“They only consulted for 15 calendar days about the redundancies, not the 30 they were required to by law,” said Alan Brkljac of Unite.
Brkljac also claims the redundancy pay received, amounting to 30 days’ pay, should only apply to distressed businesses.
“Dentressangle is robust enough to give 90 days’ pay. They are a French company and we question if they would have treated staff in France like this.”
First Quench Retailing, which ran the Threshers, Bottoms Up, Haddows and The Local fascias, used ND as a third-party logistics provider to deliver goods to its 1,400 stores from two depots in Dunstable. When FQR fell into administration in October, ND made the majority of the depot staff redundant.
“Norbert Dentressangle has received a copy of a claim lodged with the Employment Tribunal by Unite and this has been referred to our legal advisers,” said ND human resources director Mark Simmons.
Meanwhile, ND has taken possession of FQR’s stock in the Dunstable warehouses, saying it will keep it until FQR honours a claim for £4.9m. However, it is understood to be allowing some of FQR’s former suppliers to retrieve goods if they can prove a legal ‘retention of title’.
FQR owes its creditors £41m. Diageo, among the biggest claimants, says it is owed £2m, according to an administrators’ report.