A GREENGROCERS has been ordered to pay out more than £50,000 to its former employees by a court.

An employment tribunal found that Rigby’s Finest Fresh Foods, based on Sankey Street until its closure earlier this year, owed a total of £55,645.50 to its former workers.

One ex-employee at the greengrocers won a pay out of nearly £8,000 following the hearing in Liverpool, which found that redundancy pay was owed to those laid off when the store shut and that Rigby’s had been guilty of breaches of contracts.

Rigby’s was first established in 1952 but closed suddenly in February, less than a year after moving out of Warrington Market and into the former Topshop store in the town centre.

A total of 12 staff who were left without a job following the store shutting then brought a claim against their former employer.

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And the tribunal, before judge Jonathan Parkin, found that Rigby’s ‘failed to comply’ with the requirements of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992.

Ex-employees - eight of whom were present during proceedings - received payouts of between £7,900 and £1,275.

All 12 workers received compensation for accrued paid annual leave, while the court ordered Rigby’s to give redundancy pay owed to 11 of the claimants.

Eight staff received damages for breach of contract, while one received money for an unlawful deduction of wages in respect of holiday pay.

No representatives of Rigby’s were present at the hearing.

Moving onto its new home on Sankey Street in June 2017 ahead of the opening of the temporary market hall, the store boasted its usual fare of fruit, vegetables and flowers - alongside a new offering of wines, barista coffees, fresh takeaway foods, a gourmet delicatessen and a cheese counter.

But less than a year later, Rigby’s ceased trading ‘due to circumstances out of its control’.

However, owner Ray Rigby wound the company up two days before the tribunal - putting into doubt whether employees will receive the cash awarded to them by the court.