30/06/2016 - Betfred shamed into paying workers redundancy owed

Betfred Putney LondonBookmakers BetFred have been forced to pay out almost half a million pounds in redundancy payments.

A total of £496,979 was paid out to 88 low-paid and mostly female workers after they, along with their union Unite, launched a successful social media campaign to publicly shame the company into paying money owed.

The company had refused to pay out enhanced redundancy payments to workers, formerly employed by the Tote bookmakers.

Betfred bought the government-owned Tote in 2011 for £265m, and employees say when the company was acquired their terms of employment, including enhanced redundancy carried over.

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."

Unite regional officer Donna Kassim said “together with the workforce we mounted a social media campaign to shame BetFred bosses into doing the right thing.”

She said that as well as public support, workers also “had the backing of our local Labour councillors and MPs who made written representations to the company over the behaviour of CEO John Haddock and the owner of BetFred, Fred Done.”

Mick Whitley said “due to the hard work of our members and their lawyers, workers will now get the redundancy pay out that they are entitled to."

He said the victory “demonstrates the value of union membership and how joint action can empower the workforce to challenge employers who don’t respect the terms and conditions of employment.”

Fred and Peter Done, worth an estimated £850 million, have had their employment practices challenged before when it was revealed that the company offers high interest loans to its low-paid staff.

At the time the company said the loans were “a staff perk.”

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "Just to put the half a million won by workers into perspective during the 2004–05 FA Premier League season, Done lost £1m to fellow bookmaker Victor Chandler after staking that amount that Manchester United would finish higher than Chelsea. That it took a public campaign to shame the company into paying is a disgrace."

A Betfred spokesman said “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the staff and wish them all the best in their future careers.”