Redundancy Threat Follows Injury Claim

7 Jan 2012

A worker who suffered permanent damage to his hand at work was threatened with redundancy when he pursued a claim for compensation. GMB member Craig Dunwell, 43, from Rothwell, Leeds, needed an operation to repair nerve damage after he suffered a deep cut to the palm of his right hand whilst fitting a temporary flue in a Leeds school. The Fluestax Ltd employee had not been warned that the flue, which had been manufactured by the firm, had a dangerously sharp edge. This severed the nerve to his little finger, meaning he had to take three weeks off work. He still has difficulty working with his hands.

A few months after initiating a compensation claim, Mr Dunwell was forced to sign a letter abandoning his compensation claim when his employer threatened to make him redundant. Just short of three years after signing the letter, Mr Dunwell was made redundant anyway. He then picked up his compensation claim. Fluestax Ltd admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £10,250.

Mr Dunwell, who is now working as a welder in the steel industry, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when my bosses threatened to make me redundant. I was forced to sign a letter saying I was no longer pursuing compensation. I felt I had been backed into a corner - then I lost my job anyway!’

Tim Roache, regional secretary at the GMB, said: ‘It is shocking that Mr Dunwell’s employers felt they were above the law and could force him to withdraw his claim for compensation. It was bad enough that their dangerous working practices meant he suffered an injury which has seen him endure a painful operation and take time off work. We hope other employers take heed of Mr Dunwell’s case.’