FORMER staff of Lister Petter were misinformed about their rights when the Dursley firm was wound up at the beginning of April – meaning they could potentially miss out on thousands of pounds in redundancy.
The Gazette understands employees of the engine manufacturer were informed on Thursday, April 3 that the company was being made insolvent after entering administration weeks before.
It is alleged staff were told their employment was being transferred to Dorset Road One (DR1) to make the machines under contract at Aston Down in Minchinhampton.
But those who did not wish to move and asked about redundancy were told they were not entitled to it, because their employment was continuing with DR1, according to a source close to the company.
It meant those who did not want, or could not work under the new arrangements because of their own commitments, faced leaving with nothing at all despite many working for the firm for many years.
Grievances have been raised with the company who repeated the assertion there was no entitlement to redundancy.
However administrator Neil Money from CBA Insolvency Practitioners, in a letter to staff on April 8, informed them Lister Petter was no longer trading and their employment contracts were terminated with effect from April 4, meaning their employment was not transferred as previously claimed.
On Tuesday April 15 the workforce received a letter from DR1, dated Saturday April 5, referring to the administration letter – even though this was supposedly sent out three days later.
It told them they had been “successful in obtaining employment with DR1” and that “no new contract of employment will be issued as your terms and conditions of employment will remain the same along with a continuation of service.”
Continuation of service means the length of time someone works for a company and in this case could not be transferred over, as Lister Petter had already ceased to be a company.
A Dursley resident working on behalf of workers at the site, who asked to remain anonymous, said staff felt like they had no choice but to work for the new company.
“The employment transfer could not have happened because the company was made insolvent," he said.
“They would have been entitled to severance pay on top of redundancy pay but they have been made to work for DR1 so it may affect their entitlement.”
A DR1 spokesman said it was never the intention to deceive staff, saying "the unions" got involved and subsequently changed the dynamic of the transition.
"DR1 was perfectly happy to take the staff across, however the unions requested that new contracts be issued," he said.
"These have been supplied to the unions along with details of a pay rise, as discussed with the union reps."
Trevor Hall, regional officer for Unite, the union dealing with staff at the company said: “Under the new circumstances the union is working with the company and on behalf of members to get the best outcome for our members and will continue to do so.”
CBA Insolvency Practitioners have not responded to the Gazette's request for a comment.