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Pensions Office facing unfair dismissal claims

The Pensions Office director keith Popplewell could be facing claims for unfair dismissal from former employees who allege they were forced to quit because he cut their hours and closed the office.

Last week, Money Marketing reported that The Pensions Office was apologising to introducers for delays in payment of commission after nine of the firm’s 10 staff walked out on the same day.

The staff claim that Popplewell called them into a meeting on July 6 and told them the business was not making enough money and he would be cutting down their hours.

They also allege that Popplewell said they could not supplement their income with other work while engaged by The Pensions Office.

The former staff say they continued to work until July 17 when they turned up to find the office doors had been nailed shut, with the offices apparently stripped of files, computers and other equipment.

On trying to reach Popplewell, they say he had left the country for a two-week holiday and they could not contact him. Popplewell says he staff knew he was going on holiday and could have contacted him on his partner’s mobile phone.

He says: “The business is doing really well. I was not happy with the way they were working so I changed he contracts. I sent people to close up the office because I feared some malicious action. I cannot deny that, with hindsight, I would have handled it differently.”

The former staff have appointed Watson Esam Solicitors to put together a claim for unfair dismissal.

Legal executive Zoe Adams says: “I feel that the staff have been treated in a shocking manner. Nine people are now out of work.”

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