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£2,50O each awarded to 107 ex-David Patton & Sons staff

An industrial tribunal has awarded more than £250,000 to former employees of a Co Antrim construction firm that went bust.

It ruled that David Patton & Sons did not carry out a proper consultation process before making hundreds of redundancies.

The company, which traded for nearly 100 years before going into administration in November 2012, was a major employer in the Ballymena area with around 320 staff.

Yesterday an industrial tribunal ruled that 107 ex-employees who brought cases for a 'protective award' should receive payments of around £2,500 each.

The money relates to 90 days of pay after it was established that Pattons did not comply with a legal obligation to consult its workforce before making them redundant.

John O'Neill of Thompson NI solicitors, who represented the employees, said: "In a mass redundancy situation, the employer must meet with the employee representatives so that, if possible, the unions and the employees can work with the employer to seek to avoid or reduce redundancies or, at the very least, be able to plan for the worst."

As Pattons is legally insolvent, the award will now be paid by the Redundancy Payments Service, which is part of the Department of Employment and Learning.

Belfast Telegraph