ONE hundred and twenty five employees who lost their jobs when a Bolton construction firm went into administration have been awarded nearly half a million pounds after complaining they were “left in the dark” about the future of their employment.

The awards were made at Manchester Employment Tribunal against Herbert T. Forrest Ltd of the Yard Dodd Lane, Westhoughton, Bolton, which went into administration in December 2018.

The firm provided construction, refurbishment and energy services across the North of England.

A total of more than 230 employees lost their jobs.

Now 125 of the 230 have been awarded protective awards after making legal claims for redundancy and breach of contracts.

They complained they were not kept informed about what was happening to the firm and the future of their jobs.

As a result tribunal Judge Franey awarded them 90 days protective awards.

A protective award is legal jargon for wages ­— normally awarded when the management has failed to consult workers and union representatives about the pending closure of their employment.

A protective award is limited by the Government to about £300 a week making the former employees entitled to about £3,600 each.

This means the former employees are in line for a total of at least £450,000.

In a report issued last week, Judge Franey accused the management of failing to comply with the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act which states that firms are required by law to keep employees fully informed about the future of their jobs.

Judge Franey said that the respondents had failed to inform or consult employees or representatives about the redundancies within a period of 90 days.

The employees’ legal claim was also made against the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - a formality involving protective awards.

The Government department could be liable for the payments should the respondents fail to respond.

The awards could encourage the remaining former employees to make similar claims which could boost the final payout to close to £1million.

The firm lost its fight for survival after being refinanced in 2017 in order to address cash pressures caused by a series of losses on refurbishment contracts.