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Beam Construction in Cheltenham ordered to pay £27k for unfair dismissals

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

PAYOUT:  Trevor Jones won his tribunal after being made redundant

PAYOUT: Trevor Jones won his tribunal after being made redundant

BUILDING firm Beam Construction in Cheltenham has been ordered to pay two former employees a total of £27,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

The High Street company lost an employment tribunal case brought by the pair, who were told their services were no longer required in the autumn last year.

Company bosses were found not to have carried out a sufficient consultation process.

Father-of-two Trevor Jones was awarded £9,697 by the tribunal.

The 50-year-old, from Leckhampton, said: "I am very pleased with the decision and I feel that justice has been done.

"I was devastated when I was called into the head office and told I was going to be made redundant.

"I have a family to provide for and to suddenly be told I was no longer needed was a bit of a shock."

Thirteen staff were told they were going to be made redundant in autumn 2011.

Trevor added: "I knew deep down that it hadn't been done properly so I wanted to do something about it.

"There had been no consultation about redundancies, so it all seemed far too sudden.

"I felt as if I had been chosen for redundancy without any fair reason.

"Added to that was the fact that I had worked hard for the company for the previous four years – and had subcontracted for them for many years before that – and I think I deserved better."

Bosses at Beam Construction, which employs around 30 staff, were not present at the tribunal in Bristol.

But managing director Steve Ratcliffe said the pair – one of whom wants to remain anonymous – had been entitled to the payout due to a technicality.

"It was disappointing because we did our best to do the right thing by both men," he said.

"We, like construction companies across the UK, have been having to cope with a tough climate and a drop in business of roughly 30 per cent.

"We have to respond to the demand that's out there, and the reality is that we had to make some redundancies.

"It's not something we have done before, and it turns out that we didn't have a proper consultation period - so yes a mistake was made on our part.

"But it's not as if we tried to treat these men unfairly. We offered them redundancy pay and did what we thought was right. So it was a surprise to us when we found out they were taking legal action."

He also blasted employment legislation.

"We're doing our best in very difficult circumstances but having to pay out this kind of sum does not help us," he added.

"I feel as if legislation is slanted too much against employers in that kind of situation, where all we were trying to do was scale down staff to respond to the economic climate.

"But we will learn from what happened. Both men have now been paid in full."