Almost 300 jobs will be lost at a Derby-based meat wholesaler Russell Hume, after a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation led to the company entering administration. Russell Hume have an outlet in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire.
The shock announcement was received by staff last week after production was halted following a product recall in January. This had been ordered by the FSA after what Russell Hume claimed was a mis-labelling issue. There had been no reports of people falling ill after eating product supplied by Russell Hume, however, the FSA stated that the company had “widespread problems” that resulted in a failure to comply with food hygiene regulations.
One of Russell Hume’s most high profile customers was the Wetherspoons pub chain, who were forced to withdraw meat from their Steak Night menu in a PR disaster for the firm and its supplier. The subsequent product recall and halt in production operations had led to a customer exodus and administrators KPMG reported that 266 people were being made redundant as there was little prospect of production restarting.
Explaining the redundancy process
Russell Hume’s management feel the food regulator’s actions were disproportionate and had “created impossible trading conditions”. The resulting administration was “heart-breaking” for all involved and now leaves loyal staff facing redundancy due to the firm’s imminent insolvency. It is felt by Russell Hume management, that the FSA’s industry-wide investigations suggests a lack of clarity across the industry and therefore in the FSA’s own guidelines. They also suggest a previous unblemished record in food production should have been taken into account, however the FSA responded by claiming the product recall and cessation of operations was “proportionate action based on serious and widespread problems”.
KPMG are now working on behalf of the 266 affected employees to provide the necessary assistance with regards to money owed. This takes into account statutory guidelines, individual contracts and also the fact that no formal consultation process has taken place with the employees prior to their redundancy being announced.
How Truth Legal can help multiple claimants
At Truth Legal we have experience of working with Insolvency Services on behalf of clients, to claim the money they are entitled to in these unforeseen circumstances using No Win, No Fee agreements or our client’s Legal Expenses Insurance. We have identified that the affected employees are likely to be entitled to statutory notice pay, statutory holiday pay, a basic redundancy award and up to eight weeks pay for a failure to inform and consult with employees as per standard redundancy practice. It is likely that the employees would need to commence Employment Tribunal proceedings. There are very strict deadlines for submitting Employment Tribunal claims.
In such cases, where there is a large volume of redundancies affecting people of the same employment status, it is common for multiple claims to be issued together by groups of employees from the same business. This will both speed up the process and reduce stress for individual employees at a very difficult time.
We have experience at Truth Legal of similar redundancy scenarios, and we would encourage any employees facing redundancy to come forward along with their similarly-affected colleagues, so that we can work together to ensure they are suitably rewarded for this sudden and traumatic turn of events.