South Yorkshire firm faces compensation payouts of £425, 000 to employees

A South Yorkshire manufacturing firm faces paying compensation totalling £425, 000 to dozens of staff for alleged breaches of employment laws.

A total of 56 Unite members at Rotherham-based Kostal UK Ltd could receive payments of up to £7, 600 each after bosses at the firm allegedly tried to by-pass their recognised union and put a pay offer directly to individuals which included changes to their terms of employment.

The move comes after an employment tribunal ruled the German-owned company had breached the 1992 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act.

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A Unite spokesman hailed the tribunal verdict as ‘a landmark victory' against companies who 'seek to bypass the union’.

The tribunal heard how in November 2014, the majority of the 700 workers voted in favour of Unite becoming their union.

A year later a pay offer increase of two percent for the year 2016 and a £270 Christmas bonus was put to the union and rejected by 80 per cent of members.

The union then said that rather than continuing with the pay negotiations as it should, the company wrote to individual employees urging them to accept the offer and change their terms of employment, otherwise they would lose their Christmas bonus. This offer was repeated in January 2016.

A judgement was made in Unite's favour last week.

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Unite is now seeking compensation of £7,600 for each Unite member they represented as this amounts to the increase offered on both occasions by the company.

A union spokesman said if agreement cannot be reached on the payouts the employment tribunal will meet again on February 24 to arbitrate.