ok thanks. Either way, you should be seeking pay for the notice period. If you had started employment with them, then the position is simple – you are their employee and if the want to terminate your contract then they must service you with notice of termination as per contract and honour that period, including pay.
If they argue that the start date was deferred and the contract did not actually begin, the following applies:
If an employer has made an unconditional offer, which was subsequently accepted, then it is arguable that a legally binding contract was formed. This therefore places certain obligations on both parties – the worker would be expected to commit to the job and start it as agreed and the employer would be expected to take the worker on as promised.
If the employer does not want to proceed with the offer and subsequently withdraws it, then the argument is that they have acted in breach of contract. No one can force them to still take the worker on, but the worker could consider pursuing the employer for damages incurred as a result of that breach. These would usually be loss of earnings resulting from the worker not having a job to go to as promised.
One thing to note though is that until someone has worked for a company for at least 2 years they have no unfair dismissal protection. So what could have happened is that they honoured your offer and employed you as normal, then on day one of your job they dismissed you immediately. This would be legal and the dismissal could not have been challenged. All you can claim then is the notice period you would be due on termination. This is either the notice stated in the contract, or a week’s notice which is the minimum applicable by law (the latter only applies after a month of employment but it could be argued that it is fair they at least give that).
In summary, if a contract was issued before starting, you need to check what notice period was due in the event of termination and push for pay for that period. In the absence of such, it may be as little as a week’s pay to reflect the minimum statutory period.
Does this answer your query?