A travel firm has been ordered to compensate Scots employees who were sacked without consultation when the 'profitable' UK operation folded.

STA Travel was among the casualties of the pandemic after Covid brought the travel industry to an almost complete standstill.

The firm, which specialised in trips for young people and had more than 50 shops across the UK, was reported to have ceased trading in August 2020.

However an employment tribunal, representing 20 staff, has ruled that there were "no special circumstances" which permitted it to renege on its legal responsibilities by dismissing staff without consultation.

STA was run from the company's head office in London with all management decisions taken there.

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During August 2020 the firm were rumoured to be in financial difficulty but this was regarded as an issue for their parent company which was based outside the UK. Around 100 staff were made redundant.

The tribunal states that the UK operation was said to be profitable and employees "derived some comfort from this".

However, on September 2, 'shocked' staff were old they were being made redundant after the firm went into voluntary liquidation. 

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 obligates employers to carry out a consultation if job losses are proposed at least 90 days before the first dismissal.

Firms are required to consult a recognised trade union or appoint an employee representative to ensure their rights are protected.

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However in this case there was no recognised trade union in the workplace or consultation with staff.

Under those circumstances staff are legally entitled to a protective award.

A number of staff in Scotland took their cases to a tribunal which found in their favour.

Employment judge Robert Gall said: "There was no consultation whatsoever. On the basis of the evidence I heard, no special circumstances existed justifying departure from the provisions of the1992 Act and the obligation of consultation imposed."

The company was ordered to pay employees a protective award of 90 days pay.

STA Travel, which originally stood for Student Travel Australia, but was later rebranded Student Travel Association, was founded in 1971, and specialised in long-haul, adventure and gap year travel.

The firm's parent company, which is based in Switzerland, said the pandemic had "brought the travel industry to a standstill".

Airlines are now battling staff shortages as they try to scale up operations following the relaxation of Covid travel restrictions.

EasyJet has started to remove seats from some planes in order to cut the number of cabin crew that it needs on each flight.

By reducing the number of seats on board from 156 to 150, the number of cabin crew can be decreased from four to three.
UK and European safety laws mandate that airlines must carry at least one cabin crew member for 50 aircraft seats - regardless of how many passengers are actually on board.