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Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Woolworths petition handed over

Petition signing (Pic: Andre Ferrari)
Nearly 6000 people signed a petition calling for redundancy pay

Nearly 6000 people in Jersey have signed a petition calling for redundancy pay for Woolworths staff in the island who have lost their jobs.

The petition was handed over to States politicians who visited the former store in St Helier earlier.

About 80 staff have been told that UK statutory redundancy payouts do not apply on the Channel Islands.

The States is considering whether to allocate 140,000 to a one-off redundancy fund for affected employees.

Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur said a decision should be reached within six weeks.

It's the Jersey government's fault that they didn't have something in place
Senator Alan Breckon

Staff representative Anne-Marie Leblowes said: "It's looking very positive, we've got a lot of people behind us."

Staff and managers are due to meet States politicians again on Thursday.

Meanwhile it has emerged an amendment to the island's employment law to protect people made redundant in Jersey was drafted last year but has not yet been passed by the States.

Senator Alan Breckon, who visited the store earlier, said: "It's the Jersey government's fault that they didn't have something in place.

"I've been looking back at the history of that and it should have been there."

Redundancy protection

Social Security Minister, Deputy Ian Gorst, said he is writing to Woolworths asking the company to make sure it honours its obligations under Jersey law.

He is also considering setting up an insolvency fund, which could be used to help people whose companies are unable to pay them.

It is not known whether the 73 former staff at Woolworths in Guernsey will get compensation of some sort.

The chain is due to close the last 200 of its UK stores later. The Jersey and Guernsey branches have already closed.



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