Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Recruitment Guru Facing Probe by Official Receiver

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Recruitment Guru Facing Probe by Official Receiver

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Blackburn Senior Reporter

A TEESSIDE recruitment guru is being investigated after relaunching her business just days after her previous firm went into liquidation.

Jo Hand said she had "no alternative" but to wind up Middlesbrough-based Jo Hand Recruitment in October because she was owed more than PS500,000 by SSI when the steel firm collapsed.

The Official Receiver has con-firmed it is looking into the circumstances around the Albert Road firm's failure.

But Ms Hand told The Gazette that her business was also "a victim of the SSI collapse" and she had "nothing to hide".

Around 25 former steelworkers employed through her previous recruitment firm have not received a penny in redundancy and are still owed thousands in unpaid wages.

Redcar MP Anna Turley met around 18 of those workers in Kirkleatham yesterday to discuss how the Steel Taskforce could help in their fight to be paid.

The former Jo Hand contractors are owed a total of nearly PS300,000 in wages, holiday pay and redundancy.

Ms Turley told them: "There's a clear injustice here. We have got to get this sorted for you. It's not fair you get treated as third or fourth class employees."

The Labour MP went on: "We have referred Jo Hand on to the Official Receiver."

The relaunch of her business as Jo Hand Recruitment and Consultancy just days after her former firm went into liquidation, with the same office and same staff, sparked criticism, with many posting their feelings on social media.

Ms Hand said at the time that she understood the contractors would be compensated under the Government's redundancy scheme.

But the Insolvency Service has now told workers that because of their status as agency staff they are not entitled to statutory redundancy pay like their permanent colleagues.

Andy Lowe, from accountancy firm Taylor Rowlands, of Yarm, updated the workers on their claims at the meeting.

Mr Lowe explained that after the initial claims were rejected by the Insolvency Service his firm has lodged an appeal.

Ms Turley told the workers that PS20m was left in the SSI aid pot after 99% of redundancy claims had been made. …

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