Chambers Coaches employees awarded more than £40,000 after taking Stevenage firm to tribunal

Eight Chambers Coaches employees lost their jobs after the Stevenage firm was taken over last year b

Eight Chambers Coaches employees lost their jobs after the Stevenage firm was taken over last year by Eclipse Coaches Ltd of Cambridge. Picture: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Eight employees who lost their jobs following the takeover of a Stevenage coach firm have been awarded a total of more than £40,000.

The eight, mainly drivers, lost their jobs nine months after Chambers Coaches Stevenage Ltd, latterly based in Great North Road, Graveley, was taken over by Eclipse Coaches of Cambridge.

As a result employees Mr B Jones, Mr A Melton, Mr K Papworth, Mrs J Wilson, Mrs D Webb, Mr T Roberts, Mrs S Larman and Mr C Large all made legal claims for redundancy, breach of contract, the unauthorised deduction of wages and holiday pay.

The tribunal claims were made against Chambers Coaches Stevenage Ltd, Eclipse Coaches Ltd and Robert Krueger, managing director of Eclipse.

Tribunal judge George Foxwell decided, however, that the Eclipse firm was the responsible respondent and dismissed the claims against the other two.

Judge Foxwell said he was satisfied that a transfer of undertaking – known legally as TUPE – had taken place and that awards needed to be made under the protection of employees regulations.

As a result Mr Jones was awarded a total of £3,551 – including £2,543 wages and £753 holiday pay.

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Mr Melton was awarded £11,544, including £1,100 wages, £444 holiday pay and £4,440 for breach of contract.

Mr Papworth was awarded £2,614, including £1,080 for unfair dismissal, Mrs Wilson was awarded £3,192, including £1,964 in wages and £616 for breach of contract, and Mrs Webb was awarded £5,017, including £2,827 for redundancy.

Mr Roberts was awarded £4,936, including £3,846 wages, Mrs Larman was awarded £2,022, including £1,100 wages, and Mr Large was awarded £8,046, including £3,885 for redundancy and £2,33l for breach of contract.

The awards also included expenses in some cases.

Chambers Coaches had 26 vehicles with 16 and 70 seaters at its peak and celebrated its golden jubilee in 2016.

Long-standing owners Martin Chambers and Debra Tidey decided to stand down, however, and the firm was taken over by Eclipse last year.

The Chambers firm had faced a government inquiry at one stage into allegations that it had broken transport laws.

There had also been an incident where school pupils complained they were left stranded when a Chambers coach failed to turn up