Ex-Ena Shaw staff win pay out following St Helens company’s collapse

Dozens of former Ena Shaw employees made redundant when the business collapsed in February last year have won their legal battle against the business and secured a pay-out totalling just under £58k after a tribunal judged that the company had failed in its duty to its staff.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 7:18 am
Ena Shaw store

Established in 1932 and based in St Helens the company ceased trading with immediate effect last February, with its collapse resulting in the loss of around 160 jobs.

The historic business, which specialised in curtains and blinds, said it had made the decision to go into administration after suffering difficult trading conditions.

Despite the efforts of the directors and administrators, the firm stated that it was not possible to find a buyer.

Now, 18-months on, 29 former staff members will receive a total pay out of £57,742.08 after an employment law tribunal found that Ena Shaw had failed in its legal obligation to formally consult with its staff during the ‘redundancy consultation period’.

The pay-out follows legal action carried out by leading employment law experts at Simpson Millar and comes in the form of a Protective Awards which have been claimed from the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which is part of the Governments Insolvency Service.

Commenting on the outcome Damian Kelly, head of employment law at Simpson Millar, said: “Being made redundant under any circumstances can be incredibly stressful.

“However, to be made redundant with immediate effect, as was the case for our Ena Shaw clients, and not to have the opportunity to go through the correct consultation process, is extremely distressing.

“The Protective Award that has now been secured for those affected will provide much needed peace of mind, and we are delighted with the outcome.”

Damian explained that a Protective Award is an award of compensation of up to 90 days' gross pay that can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal for failure by an employer to follow the correct procedure when making redundancies.

He added: “When that law is disregarded, it is possible, as this case has demonstrated, to hold the company to account through the Employment Tribunals.

“Our clients are grateful for at least some closure to enable them to move forward with their lives.”

“While the process to claim for a Protective Award does not result in an influx of cash immediately, it remains an important lifeline for many.

“For anyone affected in a similar way to those who worked at Ena Shaw, please do know that legal protection remains in place to support those who have been redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process.”

The RPS is a government funded scheme set up to pay up employees up to a maximum of 8 weeks’ pay in the form of a protective award where an employer has become insolvent and has therefore decided not to properly consult with its employees over inevitable redundancies.

The RPS also pays other funds owed to employees including redundancy pay, arrears of holiday pay and notice pay. However, while these claims can be made by an employee completing an online form, a claim for a Protective Award requires a formal Employment Tribunal Order.