Jamie Oliver’s former staff from his restaurant Fifteen Cornwall have won a compensation claim against their employers - The Cornwall Food Foundation - after seventy of them lost their jobs.
Fifteen Cornwall was set up in 2006 as a passion project by the celebrity chef to help train ambitious young apprentices, giving them top-end practical kitchen experience. At the time of closure, however, Jamie Oliver was no longer involved with the restaurant and it was operated under a license agreement.
After staff sought counsel from Citizen’s Advice it was found that there was an error in the redundancy process at the time of the restaurant’s closure, and that the team was due compensation. The glitch came to light following investigation, with it being revealed that the workers at Fifteen Cornwall should have been consulted well in advance about their redundancies, which didn’t happen.
Citizens Advice expert Martin Jackson commented that: “This is a great result for the former employees.
"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. The results of the investigation mean that each of the staff members unfairly dismissed will receive the equivalent of eight weeks’ pay, just in time to help with Christmas.”
With the law requiring a consultation with staff for at least 30 days when more than 20 employees would be made redundant, the group were entitled to compensation called a Protective Award. It is thought that solicitors had tried to offer help for the employees, but would then have taken a cut of pay-out, which is when Advice Cornwall stepped in to protect the claim.
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.”
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