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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Eddie Stobart drivers claim redundancy was ‘box ticking exercise’

Truck drivers have given evidence at a tribunal after accusing haulage company Eddie Stobart of unfair dismissal.

Related: Two Stobart truckers claim unfair dismissal

Geoffrey Smitham and David McKain, both of Whitehaven, had claimed the decisions that led to them losing employment with the company in 2011 were “coloured by favouritism.”

They argued that the process that led to their redundancy was flawed and that there was no reasonable selection criteria for roles they were interviewed for in order to avoid redundancy.

Five drivers were excluded from the possibility of losing their jobs as the company believed putting them at danger of redundancy would be disruptive.

The tribunal heard from Eddie Stobart employees who denied all claims against them.

Tony Delaney, a manager at the company, said that certain truck drivers were excluded from the redundancy pool because they had a different skill set.

But Mr Smitham argued strongly against this.

He said: “The reasons the redundancies kept on changing so that’s why we called it an excuse.

“From the paperwork I got I didn’t think I had the opportunity to appeal.

“It stated to apply ‘to the address below’ but there was no address and it wasn’t even on company paper.

“All the jobs are the same – we were all interchangeable and we were expected to do anything so the other drivers should have been in the pool.”

The distinction lies between long-distance drivers, those who work day and night shifts, and those who work closer to the Lilyhall depot and have more contact with customers.

Eddie Stobart say that the drivers who deal with customers were not put in the redundancy pool because losing them would cause a fall in revenue for the company.

David McKain, who had worked for 12 years as a truck driver before losing his job in August 2011, said: “I didn’t have a job to go to and was still hoping to keep my job at Eddie Stobart. I believe the interviews were a box-ticking exercise.”

The company argue that there is no evidence of favouritism and that they company acted reasonably throughout the process.

Employment judge Sharkett retired to consider her decision, which is expected in around two weeks.

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