Campaigners hit back after Purplebricks claims High Court action a ‘publicity stunt’

Campaign group C4J, which is fighting for an £8.5 million settlement from Purplebricks, has given CEO Helena Marston a deadline to respond.

The war of words between Purplebricks and campaign legal group Contractors for Justice (C4J) has escalated ahead of threatened High Court action.

C4J gave outgoing Purplebricks CEO Helena Marston six days to begin settlement talks over its £8.5 million claim on behalf of 192 former self-employed staff of the troubled agency.

But the estate agency dismissed the threat as “a publicity stunt”, saying it won a recent test case and will not be negotiating a settlement.

Russell Quirk, Emoov, image
Russell Quirk

Now, C4J spokesperson Russell Quirk has hit back, telling The Neg: “Frankly, any defensive statement by Purplebricks on their vulnerability to the C4J action has about as much credibility as all their other statements, forecasts and promises over recent months. Zero.

“They should simply do the right thing by the 200 or so former LPEs that toiled for years for them seven days a week, rather than continuing to sidestep their obligations. This isn’t just a legal matter – it’s also a moral one.”

Quirk says that unless Marston engages with its lawyer, it will move to begin proceedings in the High Court from midday on 1 June.

Tribunal ruling

C4J began its group litigation claim in October 2021, arguing that the agency had failed to pay the claimants holiday pay, car allowances and pension contributions whilst self-employed.

Purplebricks highlights a recent employment tribunal case involving Mr J Williams of DNPB, where the judge found in favour of Purplebricks.

Williams was a territory owner and LPE (Local Property Expert) with Purplebricks, and had claimed he was employed by the agency from 2015.

But the tribunal Judge Hutchinson ruled in favour of Purplebricks saying: “I am satisfied that Mr Williams was an entrepreneur who owned and managed his own business DNPB Limited.”

Williams was only employed by Purplebricks from September 2021, the tribunal said.

Purplebricks is in talks with rival Strike about a possible takeover, with another bid from shareholder Lecram Holdings also now on the table.

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