MORE than 150 employees who lost their jobs when a former Kidderminster firm involved in the water industry went into administration are seeking a total of at least £400,000 in compensation.

Enpure Ltd, which moved from Kidderminster to Woodgate Valley Business Park, near Quinton, had an annual turnover of £65 million at its peak but it faced “a challenging period in trading” last year and went into administration.

More than 30 of the former employees who lost their jobs complained at Birmingham Employment Tribunal about a lack of adequate consultation about their impending job losses and sought protective awards.

Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act employers are compelled to carry out full consultations with employees about impending job losses to give them time to find other jobs.

Protective awards are penal in nature, rather than compensatory, and are designed to encourage employers to comply with their legal obligations.

The former Enpure employees sought protective awards the equivalent of eight weeks wages, with a limit of up to £450 a week.

Peter Brothwell of Birmingham Road, Kidderminster, Mrs Rebecca Fleming, also of Kidderminster and Mr Robert Miller of Kinver were among those seeking the awards at the tribunal hearing.

Mr Miller said : “Apparently, the protective awards have a weekly wage limit of about £450 but some former employees also sought compensation about company cars.”

Alan Scott, of Coppice Way, Droitwich, who was a mechanical engineer with 25 years service, said :”I was told the the protective awards would cover eight weeks.”

The firm had moved from its Kidderminster base to Woodgate Valley about four years ago.

Some former employees told the tribunal they were taken to the works canteen and told they could stay on for another two weeks but without pay. Others said they were told “late on” that the firm was going into administration.

The tribunal was told that the firm had tried to find a buyer without success.

Tribunal judge Sheila Warren warned the claimants :”You may not get all the money you seek.”

The hearing had been listed for five days and Miss Warren said a decision would be made at a later date.

Although only about 30 claimants attended the hearing the awards are expected to apply to all former employees. The firm did not attend the hearing.

Enpure was said to have provided a range of services from design through to the commissioning stage in the water industry and was later involved in sewerage work.