News : Former BetFred Call Centre Workers Win Redundancy Settlements
Warrington, UK, June 30, 2016 -- Almost 90 former call centre workers for BetFred have won an average £5,300 each in redundancy pay six months after being laid off by the high street bookies.
The 88 workers, mainly women, reached out of court settlements totalling £469,000 after the trade union Unite launched a Facebook campaign and issued legal proceedings calling on BetFred to honour redundancy terms in their contracts.
The staff were all taken on by BetFred as part of the group’s takeover of government-owned bookmaker Tote in 2011 for £265m and their terms of employment, including enhanced redundancy, were carried over under employment law.
The workers were laid off last December when BetFred said the shift to mobile and online betting meant the Wigan call centre where they worked was "no longer viable".
Unite regional officer Donna Kassim said: "Despite our members having contracts of employment which outlined their terms and conditions and entitlement to redundancy pay the company refused to pay up. Together with the workforce we mounted a social media campaign to shame BetFred bosses into doing the right thing."
She said the settlement with BetFred meant that employers in other industries would be less likely to try to undermine or ignore enhanced redundancy packages in future. "Clearly we will pursue them through the court if necessary," Kassim added.
A spokesman for BetFred, which is owned by betting industry veteran Fred Done, said on Wednesday: "Closing the call centre was a difficult decision but it was no longer viable with the shift to online betting. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the staff and wish them all the best in their future careers."
The settlement comes just over a fortnight after BetFred agreed to pay £800,000 towards "socially responsible causes" after a review of its licence by the Gambling Commission. The industry watchdog found the company had accepted stolen cash from a "VIP" customer, who was allegedly offered free drinks and day trips to encourage him to keep betting.
BetFred, which is based in Gibraltar, was found to have failed to meet its obligations on social responsibility and the prevention of money laundering, after taking thousands of pounds from convicted thief Matthew Stevens.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Betfred is a United Kingdom-based bookmaker, named after its co-founders Fred and Peter Done. It was first established as a single shop in Ordsall, Salford, in 1967.
Published: Friday, July 1, 2016