Triumph Furniture: Staff look at legal action over job losses

Triumph Furniture
Image caption Staff were told about the closure of the business - which has traded since 1946 - on Tuesday

Staff made redundant when a Merthyr Tydfil company went into administration have begun legal action, saying it did not consult them properly.

Triumph Furniture laid off most of its 252 employees on Tuesday, with 13 kept on to help administrators.

Employment law firm Simpson Millar said because there was no consultation process, staff could be entitled to up to 90 days' pay.

The administrator Begbies Traynor said talks were taking place over payments.

In a statement, it added: "The administrators are liaising with the Redundancy Payments Service regarding the payment of statutory entitlements to employees and will deal with any correspondence received in the appropriate manner in due course.

"It would not be appropriate for Begbies Traynor to comment further on matters of a legal nature."

Image caption Former employees lined up new jobs, interviews and trials at a jobs fair in Merthyr Tydfil leisure centre

Meanwhile, 24 businesses from the area took part in a jobs fair in the town on Thursday.

This gave many employees hope of new work - including Scott Meredith, 27, who starts a trial at a meat factory on Friday.

"I got a bit teary at first. Then angry, I had to get out of there," he said of when staff were told individually they were losing their jobs on Tuesday.

"You give so much and that's how they treat you."

Daniel Francis, 54, said he would miss his colleagues but not the work, adding: "We could see it coming.

"Although we were all surprised they didn't lay off half the staff to start with."

Image caption Scott Meredith (right) starts a trial for a new job on Friday and was angry at how staff lost their jobs at Triumph

Lisa Gray from Merthyr Tydfil job centre said it was amazing how local employers had rallied around, with 24 present at the fair.

"They have come together in less than 48 hours, with some offering an induction tomorrow and others jobs starting next week," she said.

Carly Foster, 29, got the keys to her new house on Friday and then lost her job in the office at Triumph Furniture on Tuesday.

Image caption Caitlin Bard and Carly Foster have been encouraged how other companies have "reached out" to Triumph employees

She said: "It wasn't the best way how it happened and we were told.

"A lot of couples worked there, so to lose both wages will be especially tough.

"But there are a lot of employers here and they're really helpful - although it seems mainly for production work."

Companies at the fair included Peter's Pies, General Dynamics and Utility Warehouse, while Gemma Jacobs from Get Connected said she had lined up three interviews for store manager roles on Monday.

Peter McMahon of Ebbw Vale's Yuasa Batteries said it was upping production and looking to add to its 330 staff.

He added: "We wouldn't usually come to fair like this, but after what happened to a local company, we have to come to try to help the community.

"We will be giving tours of the factory to 20 people at a time to give them a feel for it and see if it's for them."

Image caption Get Connected has phone shops across south Wales and Gemma Jacobs was hopeful of finding store manager roles for former Triumph staff

Matthew Theophilus, 31, who worked at Triumph for two years, had a few positive chats with employers.

He said: "There have been a few things come up and I'm looking at them.

"I've worked since I was 16 and it's the first time it's happened to me."

Mark Davies, 57, had worked at Triumph for 36 years and was there when it went into administration in 2011 followed by a management buyout.

"It was a shock when it closed completely," he said.

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