Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 15:50 UK

Ex-workers win 2m compensation

Alphasteel
Alphasteel workers lost their jobs just before Christmas 2007

Hundreds of steelworkers who lost their jobs in Newport will receive a share of nearly 2m in redundancy money.

An employment tribunal in Cardiff agreed workers at Alphasteel were unfairly dismissed and not adequately consulted about the closure plans.

Community, the union representing the former workers took the company to the employment tribunal.

On average, workers will have up to 2,500 each in addition to other amounts they have received.

Their case was not contested and the cash will be claimed in the first instance from Alphasteel and if the company cannot pay, funds will come from a central fund.

The union said Alphasteel had not followed the correct procedures when making them redundant in 2007.

Michael Leahy, the union's General Secretary said: "This is a great victory for Community members who were so badly treated by Alphasteel; at least now they will receive some compensation.

"The union's hard fought campaign demonstrates the value of being a member of a recognised trade union."

The workforce of nearly 400 people was sent home just days before Christmas last year, after the plant was put into administrative receivership.

Only around 30 staff remained at the site, which has been in Newport since 1974, carrying out essential maintenance.

Bought

However it was bought by Russian steel firm Libala for more than 50m.

Libala is a company affiliated to Russian investor Mirinvest.

It is understood production will start again with it is hoped some production jobs will be brought back.

Responding to the tribunal's decision, the assembly member for Newport East, John Griffiths said: "I am absolutely delighted for the former Alphasteel workers.

"The announcement just before Christmas was cruel and unjust to the hundreds of highly skilled employees and their families.

"This compensation is an important victory which highlights the necessity of meaningful consultations between employers and their workforce."

The Labour AM also praised the Community trade union for fighting the case on behalf of the steel workers.

"We have a proud history of steel in Newport and I hope the recent news of Alphasteel's purchase by Libala Ltd will herald another successful chapter in this important tradition," he added.




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