Kesslers International staff to take legal action over redundancies

25 January 2022 2 min. read
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The  former employees of Stratford based retail display specialists Kesslers International have commenced legal action regarding their layoffs. A number of staff are understood to be taking action, alleging that Kesslers failed to properly consult staff during the redundancy process.

Founded in 1888, Kesslers International has been trading across the UK for more than 130 years. The country’s oldest point-of-purchase designer and manufacturer collapsed under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the retail sector and cost inflation, however.

In December 2021, Kroll professionals Michael Lennon and Philip Dakin were appointed as Joint Administrators of the firm. At the time, 160 staff worked at the £25 million-turnover business, but the majority of these were made redundant according to the administrators.

Kesslers International staff to take legal action over redundancies

While Kesslers has since been sold out of administration by the administrators, the news came too late to save the jobs of the majority of the workforce. Now, law firm Simpson Millar has confirmed that it has been contacted by a handful of former workers, who claim they were not consulted over the job losses. As a result, the legal company noted that its specialist employment team has now begun investigations and are looking to secure a Protective Award for those affected.

Anita North, an employment law expert at Simpson Millar, said, “It is incredibly sad to hear of the collapse of Kesslers International, the in person retail sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic… Regardless of whether a company is struggling financially, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies. Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a Protective Award.”  

A Protective Award is a payment awarded by an Employment Tribunal in cases where an employer fails to follow the correct procedure when making 20 or more redundancies and, where an Employment Tribunal finds in the favour of the employees, they will be able to access the funds via the Government Insolvency Service. As the legal process gets underway, Simpson Millar has launched an eligibility checker on its website, where people can see if they are eligible to make a claim. Where an Employment Tribunal finds in the favour of the employees, they will be able to access the funds of up to £4,352 via the Government Insolvency Service.

North added, “While the process to claim for a Protective Award will not result in an influx of cash immediately, legal protection remains in place to support people who are made redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process, and the money recovered in successful claims will provide some longer-term security for those affected.”