Hucknall JTF closure: 'Our family has been broken up' says upset former staff member

A member of staff says the JTF Hucknall ‘family has been broken up’ by the shock closure of the discount warehouse amid the company going into administration.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 1:40 pm

An 11th-hour sale deal to save the company, which has a store at Hucknall Industrial Estate on Daniels Way, collapsed last week with administrators called in.

All of the firm’s discount warehouses were closed immediately and 500 members of staff, including dozens in Hucknall, were informed, by email, of their redundancy with immediate effect.

A now former Hucknall worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “We constantly had customers every day asking if we were closing down. And we couldn’t tell them anything. We had people on social media asking. But couldn’t reply as we didn’t know. We were left in the dark.

The JTF Mega Discount Warehouse in Hucknall, which has closed down

"Most of the Hucknall employees have been there their whole adult life, I’m talking 15-plus years. We’ve all just been left hanging.

"But the support from the Hucknall community has been amazing. The amount of jobs that have been forwarded by them for our staff – along with well wishes – has been incredible.”

It has been reported that the company ran into difficulties as a result of forced closure of stores during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The shelves at Hucknall were bare for months after the warehouse re-opened, sparking questions from customers.

The outlet was temporarily closed but alarm bells rang when the online store was suspended. Just days later news of the administration broke.

Now national law firm Simpson Millar has announced it may act on behalf of staff over the apparent lack of consultation by the retailer about redundancies.

Simpson Millar says it is in the early stages of investigations to enable appropriate legal action to be brought to secure what is known as a Protective Award on their behalf for the company’s failure to properly consult staff regarding the mass redundancies.

The firm has also set up an online compensation form which allows other employees to see whether they can also claim.

Damian Kelly, head of employment law at the firm, said: “The current situation is making it difficult for many companies across most industries and it is no surprise that retail giants – and particularly those that are so reliant on physical footfall - are being significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sadly in this instance we understand that there had been a buyer for the business, but that the sale will no longer be taking place.

“As a result, the number of employees who are facing redundancy is really quite significant.

Mr Kelley added: “While some companies are struggling because of the pandemic, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies. Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a Protective Award.”

A Protective Award is a payment awarded by an Employment Tribunal in cases where an employer fails to follow the correct procedure when making 20 or more redundancies and, where an Employment Tribunal finds in the favour of the employees, they will be able to access the funds via the Government Insolvency Service.

Simpson Millar’s leading employment law team is currently instructed by thousands of former employees affected by the collapse of a number of well-known businesses including Debenhams, Thomas Cook, Arcadia, Mothercare, Bathstore and Jamie’s Italian.