Workers who were unfairly dismissed from an Accrington call centre have won a ‘six-figure payout’.
The settlement follows a three-year battle for compensation by 120 former Sitel UK employees, who lost their jobs in 2011.
Sitel UK closed its operation at the Globe Centre in November that year with the loss of 250 jobs.
But 120 of its former employees had their unfair dismissal claim upheld by employment Judge David Franey in May last year.
Members of the class action claimed workers were unfairly dismissed and Sitel failed to consult properly over redundancies.
The Accrington site closed after travel firm Expedia, one of Sitel’s major clients, moved calls to Bangalore, India.
Carl Moran, partner at JMW Solicitors, acted on behalf of the claimants and said they are delighted with the outcome.
He said: “This was a long and very technical case, given that we had to demonstrate that the individuals involved did indeed have grounds to make their claim in the UK and did not have to pursue the Indian company, as Sitel had suggested they should.
“The employees who lost their jobs were tremendously relieved when the tribunal agreed that their dismissals were unfair and that Sitel did not properly consult with them. They can thankfully now begin to move on with their lives.”
An employment tribunal at Alexandra House, in Manchester, took place in November 2013 and February 2014, during which ten of the claimants gave evidence in person.
During the hearing, Sitel regional performance director, Ian Levett, said the company ran a ‘collective consultation’ process as part of its plans to close the site.
He said management made ‘genuine’ efforts to find jobs for staff with other companies and had asked Expedia to extend the contract to December or April.
All claims arose out of the closure of the Accrington site, when the contract with Expedia was terminated. Sitel UK claimed that members of the Employee Forum had been properly and fully consulted.
But Judge Franey ruled that Sitel failed in its duty to consult under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and failed to consult with all employee representatives acting for those affected by the proposed dismissals.
He said claims of unfair dismissal were ‘well founded’ and upheld their claim.
Sitel did not respond to requests for a comment.