Business

Patisserie Valerie: Redundant staff 'not receiving final pay'

A Patisserie Valerie shop window with a closed sign visible Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Administrators posted letters in shop windows notifying customers of the closures

Staff made redundant by Patisserie Valerie have told the BBC they have not been paid for their final month's work.

Up to 900 staff members lost their jobs in January when administrators KPMG closed 70 of the cafe chain's outlets.

They must now apply to the government for redundancy and statutory notice pay, which may take up to six weeks.

A spokesperson for KPMG said it was "providing them with support, including assisting with claims to the Redundancy Payments Service."

Former employees have told the BBC about how the sudden redundancies have affected them.

'I'm getting married in August'

Image copyright Chermayne Bonnaud
Image caption Chermayne Bonnaud is saving for a summer wedding

Chermayne Bonnaud, 26, was manager of the Patisserie Valerie in Peterborough city centre.

After the closure of her shop on 22 January, she was expecting to be paid her final month's salary on 31 January. Instead, that was the day she received her P45.

"I was expecting a bonus as well," she said. "I wasn't paid my [October] bonus either, but received an email stating we would be back-paid.

"Now we've left the company, every store manager who met their targets is missing two months' bonus. We've just lost that money.

"I'm getting married in August. I've got that to pay for - it's not like we could put any money aside."

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Ms Bonnaud said the store closure happened so suddenly that she was forced to work for free to make sure some customers didn't miss out.

"I had two customer cakes in the fridge due to be collected later," she said. "[The administrator] expected us to just leave them so the customers who paid for them wouldn't receive them.

"I put the cakes in my own fridge and delivered them the next day. I wanted to do what I could for the customers that I could help.

"When [Patisserie Valerie] put on social media a post about new beginningsā€¦ how can they do all that and pay for advertising, but they can't pay us our wages?"

She is amongst former staff members who have criticised Patisserie Valerie for continuing to pay current staff while making others redundant without pay or notice.

'Nothing to worry about'

Brandon Dann, 20, worked as a chef in a Patisserie Valerie in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

He told the BBC that he found out the company had entered administration after checking the news application on his phone during a shift.

"I called downstairs to tell my manager," he said. "They told me to come down - there was a KPMG administrator already there.

"He shook me by the hand, told me sorry, but the store was being closed down. I actually left that thinking I was going to get paid.

"Later I joined a Facebook group for redundant Patisserie Valerie staff - we needed it because we weren't being told anything.

"One of them posted in the group they read that they weren't getting paid."

He said that his area manager had told him days earlier that there was "nothing to worry about".

After contacting KPMG "they told me straight up that Patisserie Valerie aren't paying me. They're not paying the staff made redundant," Mr Dann said.

"We all started freaking out a little bit - eventually I filled out my claims form through HMRC, but it takes up to six weeks to even see any money."

A spokesperson for the administrators said: "We recognise this is a very difficult time for those members of staff who have lost their jobs. We are providing them with support, including assisting with claims to the Redundancy Payments Service."

Meanwhile, Dave Turnbull from the union Unite said the redundancies could constitute unfair dismissal.

"The company is still trading so it does still have some money," he said. "They should be demanding they get paid.

"This could be unfair dismissal. Even if the company is in administration, it should have gone through the proper process to make them redundant."

By Tom Gerken, UGC & Social News

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