Former Comet workers set for payout

Comet closure

Thousands of former Comet workers are in line for a share of a multimillion-pound payout after an employment tribunal ruling relating to the failure to consult them over their redundancies.

Lawyers for the claimants said the collapse of the electrical retailer in 2012 was "one of the more regrettable episodes of British corporate history" and "simply an old-fashioned corporate raid".


Those acting for the company and the administrators Deloitte "rebutted that contention stoutly", the judgment said.

The Needle Partnership, which represented 275 of the more than 2,000 ex-workers involved in the case, said that the tribunal in Leeds had revealed "a number of concerning details" about the background to the administration.

Comet's collapse led to 6,889 employees being made redundant. The Insolvency Service has launched a fact-finding inquiry into the episode.

The tribunal ruling will see £10 million paid out of taxpayer funds, with former members of staff entitled to a maximum of eight weeks' pay worth up to £450 a month.

Victoria Robertson, employment partner of the Needle Partnership, said: "We are very pleased with this outcome. Comet's demise is one of the biggest high street casualties of recent years."

The collapse of the firm, founded in Hull in 1933, was one of the biggest high street failures since the demise of Woolworths in 2008.

In December 2012, administrator Deloitte said it had failed to find a buyer for the company or any of its shops.

With insufficient funds raised from the winding down of the chain, it fell to the Government's Redundancy Payments Service to meet £23.2 million of outstanding redundancy pay, accrued holiday pay and pay in lieu of notice.

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