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Tribunal rewards ‘shunned soldier’ with old job

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A returning soldier, made redundant days after finishing a tour of duty in Afghanistan, has had his job reinstated after a tribunal ruled that his job loss breached employment law.

Simon Sunderland was expecting everything to return to normality after a year fighting for the nation. But engineering firm Cummins had reneged on their initial promise to keep his position as Production Operator available. Instead of welcoming him back, Mr Sunderland was greeted with the news that he was no longer needed.

Cummins, who blamed the redundancy on unforeseeable economic conditions, claimed that Mr Sunderland’s departure was just one of those necessary during the 60% loss of staff that occurred during his time in Afghanistan.

But union Unite argued that Cummins’ move was in breach of employment legislation protecting those workers who chose to serve their country during employment.

Speaking after the tribunal, Unite’s Mike Routledge told the Northern Echo: “We have said all along that Cummins’ behaviour was morally incomprehensible and legally questionable. Now it has been proved that it was legally wrong.

“It is vitally important that we support those who are putting their lives on the line. The least we can do is make sure they have a job waiting for them when they come back.”

A spokesman for Cummins claimed that the firm sought legal advice before terminating Mr Sunderland’s contract and that “tough decisions were made to safeguard the plant” during his time away.

“Cummins accepts the decision (of the tribunal) and has welcomed Simon back to work with the company,” added the spokesman.

Written by Andrew Hodges

January 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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