money1Several hundred people previously employed in jobcentres on fixed term contracts could be in line to share more than £1m after the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union won an employment tribunal legal case.

According to the union, the case showed how successive governments had ridden “roughshod” over workers’ employment rights. In the case, Jobcentre Plus (JCP) argued that ending a fixed term contract was not the same as making someone redundant. However, the tribunal disagreed.

The problem came about because after the recession hit in 2008 JCP had increased the number of fixed-term staff from around 300 to 13,000. However, since then staff have been let go and the union said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should have treated them “properly, not like cheap labour to be hired and fired on a whim”.

The PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This case exposes something deeply rotten at the heart of government, where vital public services are cut to the bone purely to suit a political agenda.”

And the solicitor acting for the workers added: “I am delighted the claimants have succeeded. Thousands of fixed-term employees were dismissed to meet ministerial headcount reductions. The DWP’s argument that this did not amount to redundancy flew in the face of both clear legal authority and plain common sense.”