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THINK AGAIN ON WOOLIES STAFF CASH; NATS JOIN FOR PAYOUTS BATTLE.

Byline: Keith McLeod

THE Scottish Government have joined the fight to get all of Scotland's ex-Woolworths workers their fare share of a pounds 68million redundancy payout.

SNP Business Minister Fergus Ewing has written to the Con-Dem coalition to demand a rethink of a bizarre law that bars workers at shops with fewer than 20 staff getting their share.

Ewing joined the Record's fight for justice by promising to keep pressing the UK Government - who have the responsibility - until the 444 Scots set to miss out are treated equally.

CONCERNS

SNP Central Scotland MSP Richard Lyle, who is spearheading the campaign, passed his file - including the Record's stories - to Ewing.

Ewing, son of veteran nationalist Winnie, has now written to the UK's Employment Relations Minister to demand action.

Ewing replied to Lyle, saying: "Thank you for your email detailing your concerns over the stories published in the Daily Record about compensation for ex-Woolworths employees.

"I very much welcome the actions you have taken to date in support of these 444 people."

He added: "I will continue to pursue this with the UK Government to try to secure a more successful outcome."

More than 30,000 staff members across the UK were made redundant without consultation when Woolies collapsed three years ago.

But an unemployment tribunal backed trade union Usdaw's claim that the chain's administrators broke the law.

btt rmUt A pounds 68million Government redundancy package was secured but more than 3000 workers across the UK were told they would get nothing thanks to a 1992 law designed to protect small businesses.

pWh Among them were the staff at Woolies' Fort William's store, which had 17 employees when it closed.

ch" Alison Findlay, who worked for the chain for 34 years, stood with six of her former colleagues and vowed to "fight this all the way".

PAYOUTS

Her shop was one of 84 Woolies branches in Scotland and 807 in the UK that closed in January 2009.

bU An e-petition is being set up on the Holyrood website.

MSP Lyle said: "We will fight this wherever we have to fight it.

"It is a reserved matter to Westminster but justice is justice regardless and there'll be no let-up to get justice.

"This obscure 20-year-old law was drafted to protect small businesses from facing massive payouts if they had to lay off workers.

"No one could possibly argue that Woolworths was a small business in any way, shape or form."

CAPTION(S):

LEADING THE WAY One of our stories FIGHTERS Alison Findlay, centre, with six of her former colleagues outside their former store in Fort William
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 4, 2012
Words:433
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