Hundreds of former employees of a national kitchen firm based in Swindon have been awarded compensation after successfully taking the company to tribunal.

Optiplan Kitchens, which had a large showroom on Kelvin Road in Swindon, went into administration on November 30, 2022.

Staff at the Swindon branch were shocked after being suddenly told to go home that day, and that they no longer had jobs.

In a statement provided to employees at the time to let them know about the job losses, Optiplan CEO Jason Limbert told them that there was no viable alternative.

"Despite taking action to restructure the business in April this year, escalating utility costs and further material cost increases have eroded the benefits that were achieved from this.

"Given the ongoing economic challenges with seemingly no end in sight to the high levels of ongoing inflation, we have reached the conclusion that there is no viable alternative to this action."

Now one year on from the abrupt closure, employment law firm NuaLaw Solicitors said that 102 employees have received thousands in compensation after a successful claim.

The employees, 101 of whom were represented by NuaLaw Solicitors, were reportedly not consulted before the dismissals, which was a breach of their employment rights.   

According to NuaLaw Solicitors, the matter heard by the Bristol Employment Tribunal on December 11, concluded that Optiplan was under a duty to consult with the employees for at least 45 days before the first dismissal, but failed to do so.

The solicitors say that each employee has now been awarded up to eight weeks' pay, at a maximum of £643 per week, from the Redundancy Payments Service.

Speaking about the outcome of the tribunal, a spokesperson for NuaLaw said: “We were very pleased with the judgment of the tribunal which acknowledged that the company had breached the claimant’s employment rights by failing to warn employees or to undertake consultation before making the employees redundant. 

“Consultation before multiple redundancies is a legal entitlement to mitigate the effect of the dismissals on employees and given them an opportunity to seek alternative employment. 

“The breach was so serious the tribunal decided to award the maximum amount of compensation for each claimant.”