Doncaster staff threaten legal action over unpaid wages as Cooplands reportedly goes into liquidation

Cooplands, Baxtergate. Picture: Andrew Roe
Cooplands, Baxtergate. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Workers at a Doncaster bakery chain are threatening legal action after the firm reportedly failed to stump up ‘several weeks’ of owed wages - amid reports the firm has gone into liquidation.

A number of Cooplands employees say they are owed wages from as far back as July and dozens of staff members have allegedly been made redundant ‘with no warning.’

In February the Doncaster-based bakery – which had been trading since 1932 – looked set to close its doors for good when it went into administration due to a ‘deterioration in trading performance.’

It was saved at the 11th hour when administrators Deloitte announced it would be able to continue trading.

Cooplands was subsequently downsized, closing 39 stores across the country and making 303 people redundant, leaving around 41 branches still in business.

The firm, now trading under the name Alison Holdings Ltd, sold the 5.5 acre head office and bakery site in Wheatley Hills for an undisclosed sum and seemed to be getting back on its feet.

However, a number of employees – some of whom say they are owed wages from as far back as July – now claim Cooplands is in trouble once again.

One former employee has received a letter from Alison Holdings Ltd which states that the company has gone into ‘liquidation’ as of October 29 following a decision from the ‘director of the company’.

It instructs the employee that a liquidator will be appointed and they will then be able to make a claim for monies owed via the Insolvency Service.

When asked about the company’s future and the outstanding wages owed to employees, a Cooplands spokesman today confirmed that ‘each employee would be contacted directly’ by the firm, but did not comment on Alison Holdings Ltd going into liquidation.

Employees have told The Star that the company has been unable to pay ‘most staff’ and has made around 30 staff members redundant between July and September with no warning.

Diane Cawood, who worked in one of the popular sandwich and cake chain’s fleet of bap vans, was made redundant at the beginning of July.

The 46-year-old says at the end of their final shift, workers were told to hand over the vans’ keys as they had been made redundant.

Diane says the company owes her more than £1,000 which she has still not been paid, four months on.

She said: “I can’t understand how a company can be allowed to treat people like this. I’ve got a mortgage to pay and this has put me at risk of losing my house and everything.

“I’ve been trying to get hold of them since it happened, but I can’t get through to them.

“No-one answers the phone.

“We used to be able to go up to speak to people in the head office above the shop in Baxtergate – but they’ve started locking the doors now.

“I’m considering taking them to court.”

Several other workers, both past and present, have contacted The Star to say Cooplands owes them several weeks’ worth of wages.

One worker sent the company a solicitor’s letter after not receiving the £800 she was owed two months after the agreed payment date.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, received a letter from Cooplands, seen by The Star, which stated: “The business has not been in a position to pay the outstanding monies owed to you.”

As of this week, the company’s website at www.cooplands.co.uk is no longer active – and instead brings up an error message.