Rebellion accused of dodging layoff pay

Rebellion accused of dodging layoff pay

By Rob Crossley

May 10th 2010 at 2:20PM

Alleged wife of ex-Derby staffer says wage and redundancy pay promises haven't been met

UK developer Rebellion faces accusations of denying several staff their wages and redundancy pay.

Numerous sources have told Develop that the remaining Rebellion Derby staff – some of which had worked at the group for nearly two decades – were made to clear their desks and go home on garden leave.

The sources add that the Derby staff, after complying and leaving the studio, discovered they had not been paid wages for April.

Those remaining staff fear their redundancy packages will not be paid either, with allegations that Rebellion Derby is being positioned for liquidation.

A spokesperson for Rebellion declined to comment.

Rebellion’s executive staff – founding duo Jason and Chris Kingsley – are currently travelling, though a statement on the situation may still be provided.

The accusations remain unproven.

One source – an ex Rebellion Derby employee – said: “What I understand from the guys left in Derby - there are about 5 of them I think - is that they were told to go home, still with no explanation of what was happening with the money they are owed.

Rebellion Derby last week “removed all the last PCs that were being used, without any warning” the source says.

“Come pay day, after clearing the office, the [affected staff] didn’t get the wages for April’s pay, and those due redundancy money that month didn't get it either.

The source said that some of the staff “have been there nearly 20 years” and were due “large redundancy packages”.

Rebellion Derby also faces two accusations from confirmed, separate sources that the company is positioning for bankruptcy – a situation that could possibly mean the remaining staff would not be paid their redundancy package at all.

It was revealed in March that Rebellion Derby had effectively closed. Three months prior the studio entered a consultation process whereby staff were interviewed and formally warned they may face redundancy.

CEO Jason Kingsley explained late in February that no-one has stepped up to buy the Derby outfit as a going concern.

The closure of Rebellion Derby coincided with an unspecified number of redundancies at Rebellion’s Oxford base.

“From speaking to contacts in the Oxford office,” said another source, “including people made recently redundant from the Oxford office, they have all be paid up to date, and didn't know anything about the issues with Derby.”

The person adds: “As far as know they’ve had no contact from Rebellion management in Oxford, only the receptionist has called them, saying there are 'money issues' and its 'trying to be sorted', but refuses to email any details as she has been told not to.”

Further accusations suggest that Rebellion Derby “has also not paid legal fees they were obliged to for members of staff who [sought] legal help during the redundancy consultation period.”

The source continued:

“During the redundancy consultation period, we were informed that the Derby office was expensive to upkeep, that the lease doesn’t run out until October and that they are supposed to return the building to its original state, which would be expensive – they knocked down a lot of walls making it open plan.

“So that coupled with the fact that Derby is registered as a separate company from Rebellion Oxford, and that the people left over have the most expensive redundancy payouts, has made people think that they will probably file for bankruptcy for Rebellion Derby Ltd.”

These claims were echoed by a separate source, one that said she was the wife of one of the affected staff.

She said: “Rebellion are claiming ‘financial difficulties’ as the reason for non-payment of wages and redundancy packages, but this has all been done verbally, over the phone, and are refusing to send anything out in writing.

“They seem to be claiming that as Rebellion Derby is registered as a separate legal entity, and it's not currently making money, that they is no money to pay their remaining, and just left employees.”

She adds: “The feeling amongst those who have been left is that it looks like they will be putting the studio into liquidation in order to get out of paying the packages that they have agreed.”