A FORMER worker at a troubled Blackburn precision engineering company has won an employment tribunal payout after its controversial closure.

Metallurgical Processing Ltd (MPL) shut the gates at its Stancliffe Street premises last November, leaving at least 24 employees in the dark about their futures.

Four months previously its predecessor Laser Shapes (NW) had been taken over ­— but MPL bosses insisted there was not enough work to keep the venture going.

A dispute over unpaid rent resulted in workers being locked out for a time while the administration process got under way, at the behest of director Philip Gostling.

Workers with tools and belongings still inside the building were left frustrated, as landlords Monte Blackburn Ltd had secured the site.

Now one worker, Mr B Heckingbottom, has walked away from a Manchester employment tribunal hearing with a judgement against MPL. No-one from the company appeared to contest Mr Heckingbottom’s claim.

Employment Judge Jonathan Parkin ruled that he had been unfairly dismissed by reason of redundancy.

Mr Heckingbottom was awarded £6,150 in compensation, representing 10 years continuous employment, based on a weekly wage of £410.

However the judge said he could not rule on further claims, made under working time regulations, in the circumstances.

An administrator's report shows that MPL went under owing £1.3million, including a sum of £734,000 to Haydock Finance, £82,865 to Blackburn with Darwen Council and £53,811 to the taxman.

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Administrator Jason Hamilton, of Cowgill Holloway Business Recovery, said £30,000 had been held on appointment, which would cover employees’ wage arrears and holiday pay.

But a sum of £36,000, representing redundancy claims by 24 staff, were listed among the debts still owed by the firm on liquidation.