Former bakery staff awarded £40,000 at employment tribunal

Five former employees of a Staffordshire bakery business that ceased trading last year have been awarded more than £40,000 by an employment tribunal.

The former workers had made claims against Tennants Craft Bakery, Carl Collins, his wife Debbie and their daughter Melissa. The bakery ceased trading in April last year after it was taken over by the Collins family in 2014.

One of the claimants had worked for the bakery since 1986, and another since 1988.

A Birmingham Employment Tribunal had been told one claimant turned up to work to find the premises closed and a notice on the door from the landlord, who had seized it as a result of non-payment of rent.

In another case, having baked the morning’s bread, articulated lorries turned up at the bakery to take the ovens away. Staff had been told the bakery was relocating, but this did not happen.

In a report filed last week, tribunal judge Victoria Dean said the business appeared to have misled the claimants as to their future employment.

“It is starkly disappointing that such long-serving employees were subject to the treatment by the respondents that they were,” she stated.

None of the named respondents, or any combination of them, had responded to the complaints brought against them.

Dean added that the business had failed to comply with “any of the standards of good industrial practice”.

 “The employer has simply ceased trading and has terminated the claimants’ employment,” she stated.

The claimants’ awards ranged from £7,000 to more than £10,000 for unpaid statutory notice periods, redundancy payments, holiday entitlements and court costs.

She also noted that the Collins family did not follow the ACAS Code of Practice and the claimants were therefore entitled to a 25% uplift of the sums they were awarded, in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The bakery had previously been run by Philip Tennant and his wife Jane, and had outlets in Hednesford, Chadsmoor and Heath Hayes.

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