Northern Irish chef calls for changes in the law after waiting months to be paid after tribunal

A chef from Northern Ireland has spoken of his frustration after waiting for over eight months to receive unpaid holiday pay that was awarded to him following an industrial tribunal.

In 2023, Chris Dalzell took an industrial tribunal case against LG Beatty Restaurants Limited over unpaid holiday pay and with the company being ordered to pay £1,610.70 after it found that Chris' claim was well-founded. The claim comes from Chris' time as the head chef at The Stables in Groomsport when it was run by LG Beatty Restaurants prior to a change in management.

Since then the father of two has been trying to get the money that is owed to him, but eight months after the judgement was made he is yet to receive a penny.

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Speaking to Belfast Live, Chris expressed his frustration over the length of time that is taking for him to get the money that is owed to him and the impact that this has had on his family.

He said: "I started working at The Stables shortly after the birth of my second child who was admitted to hospital one week after I started the job with a serious medical condition that kept her there for months.

"As I needed to support my family I continued to work full-time at the restaurant throughout the time that my daughter was in hospital and never had any issues until the end of my time there in December 2022.

"I left the restaurant after returning from two weeks in London where my daughter had been in hospital and a few issues had arisen that left me feeling that our working relationship could no longer continue.

"Following this I discussed about wages that I was owed and instead of paying me that, he offered to give me £500 in tip money that already belonged to me. After a few weeks of discussions I gave up and told him I would be taking it to a tribunal, with the judgement then going in my favour and the company being ordered to give me £1,610.70 in unpaid holiday pay.

"But since then I have not received a single penny and I am at my wits end trying to get what is owed to me. I feel like it is making a complete mockery of the courts and I don't know what I am supposed to do.

"I feel like there are very little protections for workers when seeking redress in issues like this because even though a court has ruled that I am owed this money there is not much I can do to get it. If I had not paid my TV Licence I could get bailiffs at my door but when companies refuse to pay their workers what they are legally owed it feels like it is being left up to us to deal with it.

"I just hope that by highlighting this I can encourage politicians to take action and ensure that nobody else can be treated like this in the future. It is really not fair that I have had to wait months and months to get what is legally owed to me."

Belfast Live contacted Mark Beatty, the director of LG Beatty Restaurants Limited, who said that he does not have the money to pay Chris and that he "does not owe Chris any money, it was the company that owed the money to him".

He also said that he was unable to provide evidence to the industrial tribunal due to a family bereavement and that he only became aware of the judgement that was made against LG Beatty Restaurants Limited last week.

He said that LG Beatty Restaurants Limited has "gone bust" and is "in the process of being wound up by the HMRC" and it cannot afford to pay anyone that it owes money to. He also said that it has no assets due to these having previously been seized.

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