By Ben Simmons

A trades union has secured more than £200,000 compensation for 103 former employees of Scottish sweet manufacturer McCowan's made redundant when the company folded in October last year.

New McCowan's Ltd went into administration on 16 September 2011 and production at its factory in Stenhousemuir was immediately stopped and all workers sent home.

Despite efforts to find a buyer, administrators Grant Thornton confirmed on 4 October 2011 that the company had ceased trading and that the factory, which had been producing sweets since the 1920s, was to remain closed.

The Usdaw union subsequently made a claim on behalf of its members for a Protective Award as McCowan's had clearly failed in its legal obligation to consult with the Union before making its members redundant. The Employment Tribunal in Glasgow agreed and yesterday awarded its members compensation of 60 days pay.

Last month Usdaw announced it had won £67.8 million compensation in similar circumstances for over 24,000 former employees of Woolworths made redundant when the firm collapsed at the end of 2008.

"It has become apparent that McCowan's knew they were in financial difficulty some months before they finally collapsed into administration yet the Union and workforce were kept totally in the dark," said Alan McVie, Usdaw Area Organiser.

"Usdaw may not have been able to help save the company, but McCowan's failure to consult with us and their workforce was a missed opportunity and in the circumstances quite unforgivable."

"Unfortunately, the majority of our members at McCowan's have still to find new jobs so they'll really welcome this compensation and I'm sure appreciate the effort Usdaw has made to secure it for them."


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