RIBA piles pressure on RMJM
RIAS also believed to be funding employee action
The RIBA and RIAS are understood to be bankrolling action being taken by a group of current and former employees of RMJM who claim they are owed missing wages, expenses and redundancy payments.
The unprecedented action follows comments made by RIBA president Angela Brady earlier this year when she said she wanted to hear from staff about any concerns they had with RMJM – such as missing wages.
In all, 25 staff are being represented by Edinburgh law firm Simpson & Marwick and are threatening to launch an employment tribunal to recover a sum believed to be above £150,000.
The cost of the legal action is expected to hit £15,000 which will be covered by the RIBA and RIAS.
In a joint statement, the RIBA and RIAS said: “The RIBA and RIAS do not comment on investigations into any specific complaints about chartered practices or disciplinary cases in relation to individual RIBA members. We can confirm that we have been offering support to a number of our members who have raised concerns as RMJM employees. We will not comment on this matter further.”
But RMJM group commercial director Declan Thompson said it disputed the claims and blamed the RIBA and its president Angela Brady for stirring up trouble.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise,” he said. “The RIBA has made a mistake. This is a product of [the comments] made a while ago.”
He added: “We are totally and completely disputing this. RMJM’s position is that it’s not due and we are fighting it. All 25 are wrong and the whole thing is disputed.”
He said he was “happy to meet up” with the claimants and added: “I’m hoping we get to sit down and talk this through. We need to explain where they’ve made errors in what they’re claiming. They’re trying to damage a business which has many of their former colleagues in it.”
As part of the dispute, Simpson & Marwick sent a formal demand at the end of last week asking them to pay up within seven days or face a winding up petition. Thompson confirmed RMJM’s lawyers, Morisons, have since replied to the demand.
Most of the staff taking the action are believed to be from RMJM’s Edinburgh office which is due to be closed at the end of the month with remaining staff transferred across to its office in Glasgow.