An employment tribunal’s preliminary judgement has ruled in favour of 10 former employees of Rocket Post Production (RKT) and ILab, who are pursuing claims of unfair dismissal and non-payment of wages and statutory redundancy pay.

A hearing, which took place in May, set out to establish which of four limited companies - RKT Post Production, ILab Facilities, ILab UK and Ticketlamp - was responsible for the staff before, during and after a merger of the trading companies Rocket and ILab in 2009.

It also looked to determine if there were transfers of undertaking between those employers, if the claimants were part of those transfers and if their dismissals were therefore related to that transfer.

RKT Post Production, formed from the remnants of M2 Television, merged with ILab UK in April 2009. The staff were dismissed on 11 July. The assets of the liquidated ILab UK were then sold to ILab Facilities in August.

Having taken evidence from both sides, the preliminary judgement stated

  • There were transfers of undertaking from M2 to RKT and then onto ILab UK.
  • Ticketlamp’s role did not go beyond provision of premises, kit and invoicing to Rocket.
  • There was a transfer of undertaking - including post-production work - relating to the purchase of the business interests of ILab UK by ILab Facilities and the dismissals of the staff were “for a transfer-related reason”.
  • This was a “device to defeat the legitimate claims of the claimants” and the effect was a transfer of the claimant’s employment to ILab Facilities

The claimant’s representative, James Goldman of recruitment law specialist Hendons, said: “The staff felt they had worked hard and had been treated badly. I hope the outcome of this case will help to redress the balance.”

John Tadros, a director of two of the three ‘transfer-related’ companies, said: “Our legal advice is that we have grounds for appeal and are doing so. It would be appropriate to wait to comment on the detail of the judgement until after the appeal.”

The hearing was held at London Central Employment Tribunal centre between 10-13 May.