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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
'Accident' staff go to tribunal
Accident Group employees outside the firm's HQ
Many workers found out their fate by text message
More than 1,000 employees of the collapsed Accident Group - many of whom were sacked by text message - are making claims for unfair dismissal.

The action, which got under way on Thursday, is thought to be one of the largest group legal actions of its kind.

The Manchester-based firm ceased trading in May this year with the loss of about 2,500 jobs.

Many of the staff at the firm's Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham centres were informed that the business had collapsed via text message and a large number did not receive their wages.

Solicitor Brian Slater presented nearly 1,300 claims on behalf of employees of the Accident Group, its parent company Amulet, and First Advice - also owned by Amulet - at the tribunal offices in Parsonage Gardens, Manchester.

The case is being brought against the administrators of the companies and those which have purchased assets from the groups.

Former Accident Group boss Mark Langford
Former Accident Group boss Mark Langford suns himself in Spain
'No consultation'

Mr Slater says the firm has broken the law by not consulting workers over the job losses.

He said: "The government rule says workers should be entitled to a 90-day consultation period if there is going to be a redundancy of this size.

"But, of course, that's no good if they send a text message at the end of the company's life to all of the people and they're left with no consultation at all."

The claim is worth at least 1,000 for each worker.

A creditors' meeting held earlier this month heard staff are unlikely to receive any money from sales of The Accident Group's assets.

The company owes about 100m to its various creditors.

Five of the sacked workers who are out of pocket have flown to Spain to confront director Mark Langford.

He was pictured in a newspaper on Thursday sunning himself on his luxury yacht.

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31 May 03  |  Manchester
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30 May 03  |  Business

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