88 Betfred workers have won a settlement after the private betting company refused to make certain contractual redundancy payments.
The workers became entitled to the redundancy payments after the call centre in which they worked was shut down. The call centre employees, previously employed by the TOTE, argued their contractual right to redundancy payments transferred to Betfred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 following Betfred's acquisition. The campaign received backing from trade union Unite and support from the wider public by way of a huge social media campaign.
Betfred eventually agreed the settlement directly, however it seems likely from the circumstances surrounding the acquisition and subsequent closure that the employees' would have been found by a tribunal to have been protected by TUPE. The closure of the work place without redemployment also satisifies the statutory requirements for redundancy.
We would always strongly suggest that a business takes legal advice in relation to any prospective transfer and any subsequent redundancy situation. Similarly, here, the enhanced redundancy terms were clearly contractual and this is not something we would ordinarily advise.
Generally, it is preferable for employers to agree any enhanced redundancy settlements directly with an affected employee. However, employers also need to be wary of awarding enhanced redundancy payments in every case, as it is possible for an enhanced redundancy package to be incorporated into the contract through custom and practice, or by reference to other non-contractual documents, such as a staff handbook.
For enhanced redundancy terms to be implied into employment contracts, employees must demonstrate that the terms are:
1. Reasonable, notorious and certain;
2. Fair; and
3. Generally established and clear cut.
As such, any employees seeking to argue that an enhanced redundancy scheme is in fact contractual, will need to demonstrate that the policy has been drawn to their attention or followed without exception for a significant period.
If you would like any further information on the requirements under TUPE or the status of any enhanced redundancy scheme please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Bookmaker Betfred has agreed to pay out almost half a million pounds to workers affected by the closure of its Wigan call centre, according to a trade union.
Unite said it had reached an agreement that would see 88 former Betfred employees share £469,978. The union helped the workers with a Facebook campaign calling for enhanced redundancy payments.
The former staff involved – said to be mainly women – were employed by state bookmaker Tote until it was bought by Betfred in 2011. They were then laid off in December 2015, when Betfred claimed that the shift to online and mobile betting meant the call centre they worked at was “no longer viable”. The employees claimed their contracts at Betfred entitled them to certain payouts.