Hundreds of workers unfairly sacked by Birmingham-based van maker Leyland DAF 16 years ago face many more months of waiting for payments of up to £6,000.
Aggrieved workers are being frustrated by yet more delays in one of the UK’s longest-running fights for industrial compensation after 300 more candidates swamped legal experts following publicity about the payouts.
In January that the Unite union had finally secured an £8.4?million settlement on behalf of workers dismissed from the Washwood Heath plant and two other factories in 1993.
A total of 1,400 employees were thrown out of work when then Dutch owners Leyland DAF pulled the plug on the factory and other sites in Chorley and Glasgow as debts of £1.1?billion forced the group into receivership.
Unite announced in January that up to 550 former Birmingham workers would get between £5,000 and £6,000 each – with payouts of £2,000 each “almost immediately”.
But lawyer Michael Stokes, of Unite solicitors Rowley Ashworth, said: “The publicity generated 300 or so other calls to this office.
“Many of these people had moved and many of them were from families of people who had died.
“My understanding is that trade creditors have had dividends of 21p in the pound but ex-employees have not received any money because all their claims have not been quantified.
“It is frustrating for the members but when I talk to them individually they are generally very patient. This is a huge administrative job.”
Mr Stokes said ex-workers could now expect to receive net payments of between £5,000 and £6,000 by the end of 2009.
But Stechford resident Mrs Anita Cooper, whose husband Michael worked on the shopfloor at Washwood Heath for 25 years before his dismissal in 1993, said: “I can’t believe it – I am just speechless really. How many more months do we have to wait?
“We could do with this money now – it would really help us financially. I have had to give up work to look after Michael after he suffered a stroke. We have been waiting 16 years for this money.”
The van maker went under in February 1993 and was rescued from receivership in a management buyout by senior executive Allan Amey two months later. But only 1,200 employees from the original workforce of 2,000 were given jobs.