King’s Lynn Ethel Austin store case ends

L11-570  3/5/11'Ethel Austin has re-opened in the Quadrant, Dunstable.'wk 18 AOD JX ENGPNL00120110305130226
L11-570 3/5/11'Ethel Austin has re-opened in the Quadrant, Dunstable.'wk 18 AOD JX ENGPNL00120110305130226

Workers at the Ethel Austin clothes store in New Conduit Street, Lynn that closed in 2011 have lost out on any hope in claiming compensation.

Yesterday, the Court of Justice of the European Union rejected the case for Woolworths and Ethel Austin staff in stores of less than 20 employees to be included in the awards.

The trade union fighting the case, Usdaw, said it is now turning its attention to “seeking a change in the law to protect future redundant workers from suffering the same injustice”.

In January 2012, Usdaw won compensation worth tens of millions of pounds for 25,000 former employees of both companies, but 1,200 former employees of Ethel Austin and 3,200 former employees of Woolworths were denied compensation because of the size of the stores. The union argued staff should be paid eight weeks’ wages.

John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said: “This decision marks the end of the road for our members from Woolworths and Ethel Austin seeking justice and they are heartbroken by today’s verdict.

“Our case is morally and logically robust, so today’s verdict is a kick in the teeth. It is unfair and makes no sense that workers in stores of less than 20 employees were denied compensation, whereas their colleagues in larger stores did qualify for the award.”