Club steward was unfairly dismissed

Ralph Wilson has won an unfair dismissal tribunal against Roberttown Working Mens Club.
Ralph Wilson has won an unfair dismissal tribunal against Roberttown Working Mens Club.

A FORMER club steward who lost his job and home of 23 years has won an unfair dismissal case.

Ralph Wilson was made redundant from Roberttown Working Men’s Club last April with his wife, Teresa, who was steward’s assistant.

Their jobs came with a house they had lived in since 1988.

In late 2010 the club committee said it was in danger of closing and the couple were offered new contracts with their hours cut by a third.

They said they were willing to work fewer hours, but wanted to negotiate.

But in March 2011 committee chairman Craig Edmondson said the club was losing £500 a week and would be ‘lucky to be open in a month’. Mr Wilson was asked to come up with proposals to cover the shortfall.

Four days later Mr Wilson suggested his wife be made redundant and his own hours cut but instead he was handed a redundancy letter.

An industrial tribunal has now found Mr Wilson was not properly consulted and four days was not long enough, particularly as they would also lose their home.

The ruling stated: “Mr Wilson’s appeal was simply not dealt with by the respondent. We are satisfied that consultation with Mr Wilson was so inadequate as to render his dismissal unfair.

“In Mrs Wilson’s case, we are satisfied that she was neither warned nor consulted at all prior to the respondent’s decision to dismiss her.”

The tribunal found the couple were entitled to £19,253 in redundancy pay and compensation.

But Mr Wilson said he and his wife had not yet received it – and they had been told by their union if it was not paid by March 19 he would have to claim it through the courts.

He said: “I have not received a penny. There is a paid staff on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday and a paid cleaner all week. The tribunal asked why we were not offered those jobs and Craig Edmondson just said ‘no’. We feel they just wanted to get rid of us.

“They said the club would close in four weeks but 12 months on they are still trading.”

Mr Edmondson said the committee had tried to follow procedures but admitted they had not done everything ‘to the letter’.

He said: “We have managed to pay off a lot of the debts because we didn’t have this noose of the wages around our necks. The weekends are the only days we make a profit so bar staff were put to work on those days. We have somebody coming in an hour a day to clean.

“We don’t have the funds to pay the redundancy. We have assisted Mr Wilson in writing a letter saying we are not in a position to pay so he can claim it from the government.”