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Endash and Unite in bitter clash over redundancies

Stock Photo: Pixabay

Unite the Union and locally based construction firm Endash clashed bitterly yesterday amidst a row over the company’s handling of collective redundancies as it files for insolvency.
Each side exchanged press statements accusing the other of “inaccuracy” in its portrayal of the situation which stems from the laying-off of 20 construction workers.
Unite claimed the employees of Endash were made redundant “overnight” and told not to expect their statutory redundancy minimum as the company could not afford it.
The union said these workers will file a complaint against Endash at the Employment and Training Board in addition to its own complaint at the industrial tribunal for failure to inform and consult.
But in hitting back, Endash accused the union of “bullying and intimidation” and making “irresponsible and inaccurate” statements regarding its impending insolvency.
The company said in a statement to GBC: “Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control we have been forced into an insolvency position when GJBS, for whom we provide sub-contracted employees, informed us that they no longer required seven members of staff.”
It explained that it was unable to cover notice and redundancy pay, which it estimated would amount to between £140,000 and £175,000.
“This sadly resulted in the decision to liquidate the company and resulting in the termination of all employees,” it said.
Last night GJBS told GBC in a statement that it was “surprised and very disappointed” by Endash’s statement, adding that Endash had been given ample notice that the workload would start reducing as major projects came to completion.
It also rejected any suggestion that Endash had not received any money owed to them, adding that “proper financial management” would have avoided the company’s current situation.
In its statement yesterday, Endash claimed its Director, Richard Cross, went to the offices of Unite the Union at the first opportunity to inform them of the position and seek their support for the employees.
“Unite the Union refused to speak with Mr Cross and stated they had no need to become involved,” the firm claimed.
“It appears now, that obviously Unite the Union are utilising our situation as something of a publicity stunt, perhaps for them to garner further members.”
“One of the officers of Unite the Union did eventually contact Endash’s office and the manner in which this officer spoke to the member of staff who answered the telephone was, in our opinion, tantamount to bullying and intimidation,” Endash said.
But in a statement of its own, Unite said it did not refuse to speak to Mr Cross and that he cancelled a scheduled meeting with the union just minutes before it was due to commence.
“This, although unknown to Unite at the time, being after the 20th of January 2020 when Mr. Cross had already informed GJBS of his intentions to liquidate. Meaning that there was no intention on Endash part to hold any genuine consultation with the Union,” Unite said.
With regards to accusations made by Mr Cross against a Unite Official of " bullying and intimidation" the union said this was “completely out of order and incorrect”.
“The fact of the matter is, that an Endash member of staff refused to speak further with the official, subsequently, redirecting the official to speak to Endash lawyers and then ended the call abruptly.”
It added: “There was absolutely no bullying or intimidation, as that Endash member of staff is as much a victim of the situation as any other member employed by Endash, and Unite is fully aware and supportive of all Endash employees.”