Café workers are finally paid after long battle with former boss

Ex-colleagues from a Longton café are encouraging workers to stand up for their employment rights after being forced to take their old boss to court over money they were left waiting more than a year for.

By James Holt
Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:05 am

Two cafe workers who took their old boss to court over unpaid wages have spoken of their relief at finally getting their money back.

Jade Metcalf and Chelcie Thompson, who both worked at Mad Hatter’s Cafe in Longton until early last year, said they were speaking out to highlight to other workers that they should stand up for their employment rights.

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Cafe workers Jade (left) and Chelcie (right) celebrate after receiving their payments

Mum-of-one Chelcie said she was left feeling “shocked and betrayed” after being unfairly dismissed from her manager position in March of last year.

And after being made redundant without receiving a penny from the cafe she had worked at for more than five years, she took her old boss, Jayne Flanagan, to an employment tribunal, where she was ordered to pay more than £2,000 to her within two weeks.

The decision of the tribunal found that single mum Chelcie, from Penwortham, had been unfairly dismissed and was owed £951 for an ‘unfair dismissal’, along with a £1,188.95 redundancy payout and £71.34 for holiday hours that she had accrued.

Chelcie said she had applied for a county court judgement to continue fighting for the money, but after the Lancashire Post made contact with owner Ms Flanagan this week, the full sum has since been deposited into her account.

The pair worked at Mad Hatter's cafe in Longton and both left early last year

She claims it was when she stuck up for the rights of other young staff members that she was then given the sack, but offered nothing by way of payment.

The 31-year-old said: “I was one of the longest working people at the cafe and had been there for years. It is upsetting that I was there for so long and did so much for the business without getting paid and was treated like this.

“I am a single mum and did what I thought was right in sticking up for my colleagues, but was left with absolutely nothing and didn’t get a penny of what was owed to me so I got legal advice and took it to an employment tribunal in March and won.

“At that point, it was such a relief, this had been going on for a year and I just wanted the money I was owed and to move on, but I hadn’t received any money or contact from the cafe after the tribunal.”

Jade waited 14 months for her unpaid wage, whilst Chelcie was owed more than £2,000 in unfair dismissal compensation and a redundancy pay

Chelcie said that Christmas was particularly difficult financially while caring for her four-year-old son, as she had been dismissed from her supervisory role at the cafe without payment.

After her tribunal decision on March 16, Chelcie claims it took until yesterday to see the money finally deposited in her bank.

She added: “For a year I have just wanted this to end. It has been so unfair because I deserved to get the money I was owed, and it hurts to have been treated like this by people you have worked for and supported for so long.

“I have struggled so much over this past year, it is just awful. I tried to do the right thing and was punished, and as a single mum, I was left suffering.

“I wasn’t working and was trying to look after my child in lockdown and had this to deal with. To be honest, I have not known what else to do and felt like I was not getting anywhere with this.

“This has had a massive impact on me this year. It is a lot of money and I know I am not the only one that has been left in this position.”

Her colleague, 23-year-old Jade Metcalf, also took Ms Flanagan to court over a deduction from her wages last November, and eventually received the cash she was owed - 14 months after first leaving her job.

And she is now encouraging young workers to “stick up for themselves” and know their rights at work.

She said: “I was young and clueless like so many other young people and had never been put in a situation like this before. I had not received my last wage weeks after handing in my notice and giving back my uniform, so the first thing I did was speak to my parents and get advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

“It started from there and I just kept following the books and the procedures to go through. I am only 23, so wouldn’t have known to go to these places had I not got the advice and tried to resolve it for so long.

“Throughout the process, I stuck to my guns and for what I knew I was entitled to, and would encourage anyone else in this situation to do the same. It has been a very stressful process and there were times that I thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere, but I knew I wanted the money that was owed to me and I want other people to know that they can do the same if this happens to them.”

The Post has contacted Mad Hatter’s owner Ms Flanagan for a response but she declined to comment.

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