Harrogate Filmore and Union closure - response to anger over treatment of staff

A spokesperson for cafe chain Filmore and Union has responded to anger over treatment of employees who have been made redundant, following the closure of a number of their branches - including Harrogate's.

Monday, 27th May 2019, 7:00 pm
The Filmore and Union Group has now been acquired out of administration in a pre-pack deal that has saved more than 150 jobs, but around 80 jobs have been lost.

A number of staff took to social media to express their outrage over what they described as a 'total lack of communication,' when the business went into administration, and some members of the public have called for a boycott of the branches that have remained open.

The Filmore and Union Group has now been acquired out of administration in a pre-pack deal that has saved more than 150 jobs, but around 80 jobs have been lost.

Jamie Crabtree, who was a general manager at the now-closed Skipton cafe, said the closure happened very suddenly, and that employees were "sent on their way with no information."

Concerns have also been raised about former employees receiving their full pay entitlement.

Responding to the comments on social media, a spokesperson for FRP Advisory, who have been appointed as administrators to the Filmore and Union group, told the Harrogate Advertiser: "All staff were informed of the situation on Friday when the Joint Administrators were appointed. The administrators will continue to work with the redundancy payments service to help all affected employees receive their legal entitlements.

"The administrators appreciate that this is a very difficult time for all affected employees and will be will be writing to them this week to provide further information."

Phil Pierce and Paul Whitwam, partners at specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP, were appointed Joint Administrators on May 24 after Filmore and Union suffered severe cash flow pressures following a period of challenging trading.

Filmore and Union operated 17 sites in the North of England, which included stand-alone cafes, in-store and train station cafes, as well as a Head Office and production kitchen in Wetherby. The company employed around 230 people.

Following an accelerated sales process and their subsequent appointment, the Joint Administrators secured a partial sale of the business and assets to Coffeesmiths Collective Ltd, the owner of a number of speciality coffee companies, which has acquired 10 of the Filmore & Union trading sites and the production kitchen. 150 employees have transferred across to the new owner. The remaining sites have ceased trading with immediate effect, resulting in around 80 employees being made redundant.

Partner Phil Pierce said: “Filmore and Union is a well-known and popular independent chain with a strong reputation across the North of England. We are pleased to have been able to secure a deal which crucially protects a large number of jobs in the local area and will help to maximise returns for creditors. We wish the team at Coffeesmiths Collective all the best as they continue to expand their business.

“Unfortunately, it has not been possible to secure the sale of all sites, and we are working with the Redundancy Payments Service to provide support for all employees affected at this difficult time.”