Ex-Woolworths workers to get compensation

Jan. 21, 2012 at 2:08 AM

LONDON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A tribunal awarded millions of pounds in compensation to 24,000 employees of the British Woolworths chain when it closed its stores, their union said Friday.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers said most of the ex-employees would receive 60 days pay, the Daily Mirror reported. The 67.8 million pounds ($105 million) total payout will be made by the government since the company was in bankruptcy at the time.

Frank Woolworth, founder of the U.S. chain of Woolworth's stores, opened his first store in Liverpool, England, in 1909. The chain, spun off into a separate company, became a major British institution that outlasted its U.S. parent by several years.

John Gorle, a USDAW national officer, said about 3,000 former workers are unfairly being denied compensation because they worked in stores with fewer than 20 employees. He called that a "gaping loophole" in the law.

"While the award is never going to fully compensate people for losing their jobs, I'm sure our members will welcome the money and appreciate the effort USDAW has made to secure the compensation for them," Gorle said.

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