MORE than 20 construction staff made redundant are planning to take a company to court.

Former employees of WRW Construction, who has its headquarters in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, were notified of redundancies in letter from administrators.

The shock announcement - that the firm was ceasing trading - was made on Wednesday, July 7. The company had secured the job to build the new Sub Regional Children’s Assessment Unit in Colwyn Bay.

The business reportedly employed 100 members of staff.

Employees have received formal notice that their roles are redundant, and more than 20 former members of staff have now formally instructed Aticus Law to pursue a Protective Awards claim for compensation on their behalf.

In the letter to staff from administrator Grant Thornton, staff were told that ‘the company is no longer in a position to make payments to you for services rendered by you’, and that as a result they should regard their ‘contract of employment with the company as terminated’.

The letter went on to state that claim for pay in lieu of notice is ‘effectively a claim for breach of contract’ as the circumstances meant they were unable to work their notice period for the company.

Aticus Law says it has now been contacted by 21 former employees who plan to take WRW to court for their case to be heard by an employment tribunal over concerns about how the redundancy process was managed.

If successful, those involved in the challenge will be entitled to up to eight weeks’ worth of pay in compensation, with a cap of £538 per week.

Mohammed Balal, of Aticus Law, said: “There’s just no denying that it’s tough for businesses at the moment, and many are facing the prospect of going out of business and having to let go of staff.

“However, as employers, they are still beholden to employment law. That means, if they are proposing to make more than 20 employees redundant at one establishment, they must follow the correct consultation process.

“Based on what our clients are telling us, that wasn’t necessarily the case at WRW Construction.

“When the business announced it had collapsed last week we were contacted by around a dozen former employees who were concerned about their jobs.

“Following the news that they have officially been made redundant more than 20 people have instructed us to investigate whether there are grounds to claim for a Protective Award, which is basically compensation awarded by an Employment Tribunal if an employer fails in its duties.

“It’s a really vital safety net for so many families in fast-paced redundancy situations that often leave them with no source of income and absolutely no notice.

“However, many people don’t realise that you can only get a Protective Award payment if you are included as part of the claim and are listed as part of the Schedule of Claimants attached to the Tribunal Judgment.

“You can’t simply watch from the side-lines while ex-colleagues take the legal challenge forward. It’s important to make sure your name and specific job title is included.”

Despite a significant order book of over £60m to be delivered within the upcoming 12 months, WRW Construction has come under "significant financial stress."

Work began on the new Sub Regional Children’s Assessment Unit in June.

Bwthyn y Ddol, next to Eirias Park, off Abergele Road, will be for children needing assessment. The scheme will stop children with complex needs being sent hundreds of miles away for care.

The first purpose-built unit of its kind in Wales is a joint venture between Conwy county and Denbighshire councils and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

A statement, on behalf of the company’s board of directors, said: “Despite a significant order book of over £60m to be delivered within the upcoming 12 months, a supportive lender, fantastic staff and prospects, regrettably, owing to a series of events the last week, including an unfavourable adjudication outcome, the business was put under significant financial stress.

"The directors have worked tirelessly with their advisors and funders to look for solutions for the business to remain viable.

"Unfortunately, it has been regrettably determined that no viable options remain, and administration is the best course of action to preserve value for stakeholders and creditors.

"As a result of this, the directors are in the process of placing the company into administration.”

A spokesperson for Conwy County Borough Council told the Pioneer: "The council understands WRW is being placed into administration.

"We are waiting for further information to establish the impact this will have on our development at Bwthyn Y Ddol."

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: “We are continuing to work with our partners on the development at Bwthyn Y Ddol while we await further information.”

BCUHB had nothing to add at this time.