The deal has yet to be signed, but a VW spokesman said that an announcement would be made within 24 hours.However, Five Oaks staff made redundant out of the blue last week were today still in what has been described as ‘limbo land’ because senior management have consistently kept them in the dark.Director of the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service David Witherington said that staff were also victims of a ‘hole’ in the Island’s employment law which failed to safeguard their interests.’There is no facility in Jersey for a fund of money so that staff who are the victims of bankruptcies have got somewhere to turn for money they are owed,’ he said.’This appears to have come out of the blue, and some of them haven’t worked there very long.
Best practice would have been to give the staff a lot more information and some advance warning.’Mr Witherington added that it appeared that even the managers who were chairing meetings with staff had not been given much information by their managers.It is understood that at a meeting yesterday, some staff were told if they had not been informed that they were being re-employed by Monday, they would be permanently out of a job with the group.
The JEP has consistently tried to get in touch with Five Oaks owners and board members, including managing director Ian MacBoyle, but have been unable to get a response.Around 250 staff are still owed an estimated £400,000 in wages for this month and should be entitled to up to 16 weeks’ paid notice.
Instead, they have been told that if the Five Oaks group is taken over and they are re-employed, they will receive the owed cash only if they stay with the company for 18 months.
Employment and Social Security have been ‘flooded’ with calls from former Five Oaks staff who are desperately anxious about how they will support their families over Christmas.Controller of the department Ann Esterson said: ‘We were flooded with calls on Tuesday.
This sort of large-scale redundancy is not unprecedented, but something like this has not happened in the last year.
‘The labour market is not the best and just before Christmas, this is pretty awful.
In terms of good employment practice, we are disappointed that they were not given information on what was likely to happen.
This would not be regarded as best practice or even decent behaviour.’She added: ‘We have given them advice about what jobs are available and about reskilling and so on, to show what options are open.
For most of them, this is still early days and there is still uncertainty whether they will be re-employed.’We are here to help people get back into work.’Because there is no unemployment benefit in the Island, those laid off last week could be forced to apply to the parish for aid before Christmas.
However, Mrs Esterson said that the States would pay the social security contributions of former Five Oaks staff for a limited period.