British Air Line Pilots Association general secretary Jim McAuslan has emerged from talks with XL Leisure Group administrators no wiser than he went in.
According a spokesperson for the union, the administrators simply said they were still looking at all the figures, that it was early days and that they would keep Balpa informed.
A further meeting between the two parties is planned for next Monday when Balpa hopes to find out what funds might be available for the staff who have now been or are to be made redundant.
The union is also planning a series of meetings across the country with the company’s pilots for next Monday and Tuesday.
According to asb law partner in employment, Andrew Knorpel, if there is no company money available for the staff next week, staff will still be entitled to some financial reparation via the National Insurance Fund – although this will be limited.
“If they are made redundant, they will be entitled to statutory redundancy payments, but not any enhanced payments to which they may have been contractually entitled,” said Knorpel.
Because administrators usually try to move quickly under these circumstances, they often act in breach of the statutory dismissal procedure and so workers could claim for unfair dismissal.
“Although statutory redundancy payments would be set off against any unfair dismissal basic award, even if they have been in their jobs for less than two years and are not entitled to statutory redundancy, they could get a basic award if dismissed which amounts to four weeks’ pay,” explained Knorpel.
Workers may also be entitled to unpaid holiday pay of up to six weeks, pay arrears of up to a maximum of eight weeks and to statutory notice pay. “Clearly, notice should have been given, so in this case they would normally be entitled to a payment from the fund of one week’s pay for each year of service, capped at 12 weeks.”
However Knorpel cautioned “all payments from the National Insurance fund are capped at £330 per week.”
In addition, where an employer makes 20 or more people redundant, it is obliged to consult with workers’ representatives such as trade unions. In the case of XL Leisure this clearly did not happen, and so workers could be entitled to a protective award equivalent to up to 90 day’s pay if they brought a successful claim for this.
“In order get payments for redundancy, arrears of pay, holiday pay and notice from the National Insurance fund, staff need to fill out an RP1 form which should come from the administrators in due course,” added Knorpel.