Hundreds of former employees of Mark Group are set to take legal action against their former employer, which could lead to the involvement of business secretary Sajid Javid.

The company was forced into administration in October when the government announced its plans to cut the feed-in tariff rate. It had recently been bought by SunEdison as a route into the UK solar market but was forced to let go almost 1,000 members of staff after the financial incentives for solar investment were reduced and administrators from Deloitte were called in.

Around 440 former workers are now part of an impending class action against the company. Employment law specialist solicitors Nualaw are expected to make a claim of around £840,000 after stating that Mark Group acted in breach of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Under this legislation, Mark Group would have been required to undertake a consultation of at least 30 days with those affected by the dismissals. The employees would have had a right to elect representatives to discuss the issue with management before the dismissals were made however according to Nuala Toner of Nualaw: “There wasn’t consultation prior to this happening, therefore those people are entitled [to claim compensation].”

The secretary of state is likely to be named in the litigation as Mark Group is now in administration but would have been required to notify Javid of its plans, due to the number of job losses and the short period of time within which they were made. According to a spokesperson from the governmernt's Insolvency Service: “Failure to notify the secretary of state with the correct notification requirements can result in a criminal prosecution and a fine for the employer and prevents the Government from putting in place the services that are available to assist employees during this difficult time.” 

The secretary of state is responsible for the national insurance fund that is used to compensate workers who are owed by a company that is no longer solvent and employees are owed money.

Representatives from Deloitte were unavailable for comment on the case, which Toner says will begin imminently. The Insolvency Service was unable to confirm or deny that a notification from Mark Group was received.