Britain’s biggest union is launching legal action on behalf of the scores of Monarch staff left “high and dry” when the airline went into administration earlier this week.
More than 1,800 Monarch employees were made redundant overnight when the UK’s fifth largest airline collapsed on Monday, with just 240 staff kept on temporarily to assist in the winding down process.
Unite is now lodging employment tribunal proceedings over the budget carrier’s “failure to consult on redundancies”.
Oliver Richardson, a national officer for the union, said: “Through no fault of their own, former Monarch workers are out of pocket and out of a job.
“While, understandably, a lot of the focus is on passengers, Unite is determined to ensure that Monarch workers, who worked so hard to try and turn the airline around, are not left high and dry.”
According to Unite - which represents more than 1.4 million people across Britain - employers with more than 100 workers are legally required to give a minimum of 45 days notice when they decide to make people redundant.
Meanwhile, employees who have worked for a company for more than two years are entitled to statutory redundancy pay.
Richardson continued: “The manner in which Monarch went into administration and the way the government allowed it to happen means there is a strong claim for compensation by former Monarch workers.
“We would urge former Monarch workers to lodge their details with Unite to help ensure they get the financial compensation they are legally entitled to.”
The news comes as the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) claimed that some workers were left up to £40 out-of-pocket after they were forced to call premium rate numbers to find out they had been made redundant.
BALPA is also set to seek compensation on behalf of its members over this “shabby” treatment of staff, it emerged on Wednesday.
The association’s general secretary, Brian Strutton, described Monarch’s treatment of its staff as a “kick in the teeth when they are already down”.
“This is unbelievably cold-hearted and I’m asking the administrators – KPMG – to rectify this by giving each of those staff members affected £100 to reimburse them and as a show of good faith. I think an apology is also in order.
“Since Monday we’ve seen appalling treatment of Monarch staff,” he said.
“Not only were they given no warning of this situation but some have had to shell out their own cash to be told they’ve lost their job.
“BALPA can confirm that we will also be seeking compensation for the shabby way our members were notified of their company’s demise and their own sacking.”
As well as triggering mass redundancies, the collapse of Monarch also sparked Britain’s biggest peace-time repatriation, with 110,000 passengers left stranded abroad.
More than a fifth of Monarch customers have now returned to the UK on rescue flights, with 23,321 people having already been brought back.