Who? Daniel Kindell, partner, Morrish Solicitors.
Why is he in the news? The firm and trade union TSSA secured an employment tribunal judgment against Thomas Cook – which went into liquidation in September 2019 – over the travel firm’s failure to inform and consult before making redundancies. They say up to 1,500 former employees could claim up to £4,200 (gross) from the Insolvency Service. (The Gazette was told the entities that are the subject of this claim are still in liquidation.)
Thoughts on the case: ‘As our team specialises in protective award claims for employees, unfortunately we’re used to seeing and dealing with large-scale redundancies, particularly when companies become insolvent. Thomas Cook should have engaged in an information and consultation process before it went into liquidation and made hundreds of staff redundant. The process should have included discussions about ways of avoiding redundancies and reducing the numbers or mitigating the consequences. Instead, hundreds of staff found out about its insolvency from the news media and the following day they were made redundant at the drop of a hat.
‘It’s our job to challenge the employer’s failures and ensure those affected are compensated. I was fortunate enough to represent TSSA, the recognised trade union for head office and retail staff, as Morrish is a trade union specialist firm. Cases such as these truly emphasise the benefits of trade unions in the workplace.’
Dealing with the media: ‘A “protective award” is a difficult concept to understand. An award can be up to 90-days’ pay per affected employee. This is set out in the judgment against the employer. However, in cases arising from insolvency, up to eight weeks of that award can be claimed from the Insolvency Service, which acts as a state guarantor of certain debts owed. Often, the rest of the protective award can’t be recovered. When dealing with the media, it’s essential that we’re able to articulate the protective award concept accurately and succinctly.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘To fight for the rights of the less fortunate and those who need help when they are at their most vulnerable.’
Career high: ‘Aside from the success of this case and others, such as Phones4u and Citylink, the privilege of being able to work closely with trade unions, like TSSA, and the many others we serve.’
Career low: ‘Witnessing the devastating impact the introduction of employment tribunal fees had on access to justice.’