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Have I Any Rights


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Two weeks ago i was laid off form my job after four years and a few months continuous employment, i worked for a national recruitment company as a minibus driver taking temp staff for the agency to factories over a wide area for which the temps had transport costs deducted from their wages. I was called to the agency office by text to see the area manager who informed six of us that it was no longer legal to deduct transport costs from temps wages as this would take them below the minimum wage. We were then informed our jobs would no longer exist after a few weeks as they would be using local taxis that the temps would pay for themselves. That evening i received a phone call from the area manager informing me i would no longer be required. I emailed him two days later requesting what i would receive in way of wages and any recompense. he replied i would receive the 15 hrs i had worked that week plus 36 hrs in lieu of notice and any holiday pay due. as i was on a "contract for services" he would have to catch his boss in a good mood to try and get some severance. I would add i had a 100% attendance record no discipline issues no accidents or convictions during the 4 yr period. my position was as driver supervisor

dealing with clients on a daily basis. If anyone can advise me i would be most grateful as i cannot afford a solicitor.......... Jim

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Hi Jim and welcome to the forum :)

 

Were you an 'employee' of the agency? By that, I mean did you have a contract of employment, were they deducting national insurance and tax from your wages? Were they obliged to give you work and were you obliged to take it?

 

Alternatively are you self-employed, invoicing the agency for your services?

 

There is a very important difference between the two, which could be very important.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Hi sidewinder tax and national insurance were deducted from my weekly wage i think they are saying i was a temporary worker the same as the people i transported although i never worked at any of their clients sites and was given a weekly work rota by the transport manager. I also received a computer generated wage slip by post each week. Thanks by the way for your quick reply........JIM

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I am sure that you know the importance of your employment classification in regard to being able to take this further. Clearly you have been made redundant, but your rights are very dependent on your employment status. If you are classed as an 'employee' then you enjoy certain rights - in particular the right not to be unfairly dismissed - over and above those of 'workers' or the self-employed, and I believe that the agency are attempting to skirt around their obligations.

 

You say that you worked for them for over four years continuously? Were you ever given a contract and if so what does it say? Who owned the minibus and paid for the fuel? Did you work set hours each week?

 

If they are trying to determine your status as 'casual' or 'temporary' then they can only do so if this is clearly defined as employment for a fixed period only or where there is no mutuality of obligation (ie that they expect you at work for specific duties or at certain times and you are obliged to attend). Even if you were initially employed for a fixed period and the agency has allowed this to continue for an indefinite period, you would in law move from being on a temporary or fixed term contract to be considered permanent after four years continuous employment. They have, I suggest, attempted to cloud the issue by referring to you as fulfilling a 'contract for services' - if that is the case then refer to that contract as these are generally used to determine that somebody is self employed and not an employee. If that were the case then you would not receive a payslip or have tax and NI deducted at source, nor would you receive holiday pay.

 

It would seem from what you have said so far that you may well be classed in law as an 'employee'. That being the case, then you have been unfairly dismissed as you were not properly consulted over the redundancy, opportunities for alternative employment were not considered, you have not been given adequate notice (a minimum of four weeks paid work or pay in lieu), a redundancy payment of not less than four weeks pay (or six weeks if you were over 41 when you started work there).

 

I would strongly recommend that you seek some specialist advice - maybe CAB or an employment law specialist for a fixed-fee initial consultation. I believe that you have a case, but a professional legal opinion would be wise - and soon!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Thanks Sidewinder for your help on this issue i will seek professional legal advice on monday. In answer to your questions the minibus was hired by the company with a fuel card entrusted to me for use,i also was an office keyholder as my start time was usually 4/5am depending on the site i was travelling to, i also kept the vehicle at home when not in use. i had to book holidays at least 4 weeks in advance. once again many thanks for your help i shall let you know how i get on.......JIM

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Best of luck. As I say, if the matter of you being an employee is clear-cut then you have a very strong case for unfair dismissal due to a lack of consultation and lack of notice of redundancy. Ultimately however it would be up to a Tribunal to determine exactly what your status is taking into account relevant factors such as contract (if no written one then implied) regularity of hours, means of payment etc. All of those seem to point in the right direction for you so fingers crossed.

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