Hundreds of redundant Independent Insurance employees are taking liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
If their cases succeed, PWC will pay out hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation, as the maximum award available for unfair dismissal is £50,000. This was raised from £12,000 per dismissal last year.
Ex-Independent employees met in Manchester last week to discuss their situation and decided to take their case against PWC forward.
Former business consultancy head Paul Lee, Leeds underwriting manager David Kelly and Cheadle commercial underwriter Phil Angus met PWC on Wednesday night (September 26) to present PWC's Nigel Rackman with 30 questions raised at the first meeting and a demand for answers within seven days.
Angus said hundreds of redundant staff returned ET1 forms to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
ET1 forms outline claims for unfair dismissal and lack of consultation prior to dismissal.
Angus added staff were never told of the criteria for redundancy.
He asked: “Why were so many highly-paid members of management kept on, when they're eating away at our redundancy money?”
Friday (September 28) is the deadline for Independent staff to submit ET1 forms to the DTI.
The DTI will then send an ET3 form to PWC, giving it 28 days to respond.
A test case will be heard as soon as a venue and date can be agreed.
If the hearing decides there is enough evidence, a full hearing will be arranged within six months.
Angus said staff expected PWC to fight the case.
“We've taken legal advice and we're not going into this half-heartedly,” he said.
Angus said more than 100 former staff would meet again in Manchester next Tuesday (October 2).
The DTI refused to comment on individual cases.
A PWC spokeswoman said the liquidators were aware of the action and would pursue it in the “normal manner”.