Former staff at Leeming Bar’s Vale of Mowbray win tribunal

Staff members who worked at the Vale of Mowbray factory in Leeming Bar before the company went into administration won a tribunal judgement on December 8 in Newcastle – which saw the collective paid thousands of pounds for ‘lack of consultation’ by the closed company. 

Administrators were called to Vale of Mowbray, a family-run business which had been making pork pies for almost a century, in September 2022 due to ‘significant financial challenges’ brought about because of rising energy costs.

The Northern Echo: The Vale of Mowbray siteThe Vale of Mowbray site (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

In total, over 200 people lost their jobs as a result of the company’s collapse. 

At the time, the majority of workers were made redundant, with some others retained in the short term as the Joint Administrators wound up the operations of the business.

Despite the site finding a new buyer, rival pie company Compleat Foods, in March of this year, ex-Vale of Mowbray employees have been pursuing a tribunal claim since being left jobless.

The Northern Echo: The gates to the now closed Leeming Bar factoryThe gates to the now closed Leeming Bar factory (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

And on Wednesday (December 13), documents relating to the tribunal of 43 ex-employees, which took place in Newcastle on December 8, were published. 

During the tribunal, Employment Judge Aspden sided with the former employees, noting that the staff members weren’t consulted by Vale of Mowbray about dismissals and redundancies, while it was also highlighted that the company didn’t show that there were special circumstances in making the decisions it did.

The Northern Echo: Part of the Vale of Mowbray sitePart of the Vale of Mowbray site (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

In summing up the case, Judge Aspden said: “I am satisfied on the material available that this a case where there has been no consultation at all about the claimants’ proposed dismissals and there are no mitigating circumstances.”

Concluding the case, it was ruled that each of the 43 employees would be entitled to compensation of 90 days gross pay.

But the law firm representing the 43 employees, Nualaw, said that the compensation will be limited to a maximum of eight weeks pay at £643 per week, as the company is in administration, so the money is drawn from the national insurance fund. 

This means that each employee would be entitled to £5,114 – totalling £221,192 for the 43 staff members.

Recommended reading:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. With our latest deal you can pay £3 for three months, or get 40% off a 12-month subscription. Click here.

It’s understood that several other claimants will be pursuing other tribunal claims at a later date – but the details of these are not yet known. 

Following the judgement, a spokesperson for Nualaw said: “We were very pleased that the tribunal recognised Vale of Mowbray’s failure to comply with the duty to consult with the claimants or warn them of the impending dismissals. 

“Given more than 200 employees were affected consultation should have taken place for at least 45 days before any dismissals were made.  The tribunal felt this was sufficiently serious to award the maximum compensation.”

The Northern Echo | Business News