Legal action taken by Citizens Advice Cornwall has helped 70 former employees of the collapsed Cornwall Food Foundation in Truro and its associated Fifteen Restaurant at Watergate Bay, Newquay claim a total of more than £200,000 in payments following a failure in the redundancy process.
The foundation was a charitable venture running healthy eating programmes for the community and training young chefs and restaurant staff through the Fifteen Restaurant. Both businesses closed just days before Christmas last year without any prior warning causing the loss of 78 jobs.
The law requires employers to consult with staff for at least 30 days whenever 20 or more employees are likely to be made redundant. Employees are entitled to compensation, called a Protective Award where that does not happen.
Citizens Advice Cornwall stepped-in to make sure the former employees knew about their rights and helped them make applications to the Employment Tribunal for the Protective Award which will be paid by the Government’s Redundancy Payments Scheme as the businesses are insolvent.
Citizens Advice Adviser, Martin Jackson, said:
“This is a great result for the former employees. The extra money will help tide them over Christmas. Many have suffered a double whammy from being made redundant with no notice last winter and since then have been unable to find stable jobs in hospitality and catering due to lockdown.”
Citizens Advice Cornwall Chief Executive, Gill Pipkin, said:
“As soon as the job losses were announced, solicitors’ firms were lobbying the ex-employees for business with “no win, no fee” schemes that would have led to them charging over £50,000 for making the applications, which Citizens Advice has done for free.
“Anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation can come to Citizens Advice, where we can look into their case and, if necessary, help with any claim.”
The payments are equivalent to eight weeks’ pay for the former Fifteen staff.