Staff at the former Express web sites are taking legal
action against the former owners after it has emerged that they will not
receive redundancy pay.
The five companies were sold by magazine publisher Northern
& Shell to Seymour Pierce Investments for £1 in December. SP Investments
then placed the websites, which includes express.co.uk and sportlive.co.uk,
into liquidation on the ninth of January.
Andrew Hoskings, a liquidator at HLB Kidsons, confirmed that
former website staff will not receive redundancy pay from its current owners.
He said, “The companies who employ each of the staff have no
tangible assets that can be realised, the funding of arrears of pay and holiday
pay together with payment in lieu of notice will be carried out by the
Department of Employment.”
The NUJ is supporting the legal action being brought by the
46 former employees.
An NUJ spokesman said, “The staff were expecting a
redundancy payment equivalent to 20 weeks’ salary. This will not now happen
under the terms of the liquidator’s decision.
Under the Department of Employment regulations, staff will
not receive redundancy payment unless they have been working for the company
for at least two years.
He explained that, “The majority of the staff were working
at the websites for less than two years. The NUJ has estimated that employees
have lost between £1,000 and £60,000 each in notice and redundancy pay.”
Seymour Pierce, the current owner of former Express websites
refused to comment.