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Former Norwich Connaught workers wait for result of compensation battle

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 July 2014

Flashback to 2010, when Connaught Workers were told they had lost their jobs. Photo: Jerry Daws.

Flashback to 2010, when Connaught Workers were told they had lost their jobs. Photo: Jerry Daws.

©Archant Photographic 2010

More than a hundred Norwich workers who lost their jobs when city council contractor Connaught went into administration are waiting to find out if they will receive compensation.

Almost four years after they were made redundant, the former workers are waiting for the result of an industrial tribunal launched by their union.

Some 300 Norwich workers were made redundant in September 2010 when Connaught Partnerships – picked by Norwich City Council to carry out housing repair and maintenance work for the authority – went into administration.

Since 2011, construction union UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians) has been pursuing employment tribunal cases for unfair dismissal, failure to transfer and failure to inform and consult.

The claim was made against a series of contractors on behalf of 125 UCATT members. The tribunal case got underway earlier this year and the workers are now waiting to hear what the tribunal will rule.

The workers had been employed by Connaught to undertake repairs and maintenance on Norwich City Council’s housing stock as part of the £17.5m contract which had been signed with City Hall.

They were made redundant after the company plunged into administration after weeks of speculation that the Exeter-based firm was in trouble.

The job losses in Norwich were the highest of any single contract, following Connaught’s collapse, according to the union.

The city council maintained it could not have predicted the collapse of the company and had tried to secure a rescue package for the workers, which would have seen them transfer over to a new company.

But a deal the council hoped would be struck was scuppered because lawyers feared a legal challenge.

In June last year, UCATT won a settlement worth nearly £500,000 on behalf of 130 workers made redundant when another city council contractor went into administration.

Those workers were employed by Fountains undertaking street cleaning, parks and garden maintenance and grave digging for the council, but lost their jobs without warning in January 2012.

• Are you a Connaught worker waiting for the decision? Tell us your story by calling Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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