More than 60 former employees of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group, which went into administration last year, have been awarded eight weeks in lost pay after an employment tribunal ruled the organisation failed to consult with them ahead of their redundancy.
Former staff at Jamie’s Italian, Fifteen and One New Change, which traded as Barbecoa, will receive 56 days’ lost pay.
Redundancy and insolvency
The 64 claimants alleged that the companies failed to properly consult with them about their job losses ahead of the group going into administration in May 2019.
By law, organisations wishing to make 100 or more staff redundant must begin a consultation period at least 45 days before the dismissals take effect.
More than 1,000 jobs were lost when 22 of the group’s restaurants closed. Three restaurants at Gatwick Airport continued to trade until they were brought out of administration by food-to-go firm SSP Group in June last year, saving around 250 jobs.
The Central London Employment Tribunal agreed that Jamie’s Italian, Fifteen and One New Change had breached section 188 of the 1992 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act by not holding a redundancy consultation period.
It ordered that staff are paid 56 days’ wages from 21 May 2019, which was the date on which the first of the dismissals took effect. If the money is unavailable from the businesses’ assets, it will likely come from the government.
The judgment does not state how much each employee would be owed or how much the total award would be.
At the time off the job losses, Jamie Oliver, who put £4 million of his own funds into the businesses in order to save them, said he appreciated how difficult the decision was for everyone affected.
KPMG said the organisation had no suitable investment options and had struggled through a “very difficult trading environment”.