A legal fight to secure compensation for staff made redundant at two high street chains has suffered a blow.
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) is representing thousands of former Woolworths and Ethel Austin workers who were denied compensation when the chains ceased trading.
Ethel Austin, who went into administration in 2010, had a store in New Conduit Street while the ruling also covered the old Hunstanton and Downham branches of Woolworths, which ceased trading in 2009.
Advocate General Wahl of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered an opinion on the cases, which the court is not obligated to follow, but it does have an impact on the final decision in many cases.
USDAW general secretary John Hannett said: “It is disappointing that we have not been able to persuade Advocate General Wahl of the merits of our case, which is morally and logically robust. We are now pinning our hopes on the final judgement.
“It makes no sense that workers in stores of less than 20 employees were denied compensation, wherecolleagues in larger stores did qualify for the award.”