A FORMER motor dealership boss will walk away with £26,752 after a long-running battle with his old employers.

David Walker Smith was general manager at Perrys Motor Sales for three Peugeot garages and two Nissan sites, across East Lancashire, known as the ‘Blackburn cluster’.

But after 25 years unblemished service he was sacked, amid claims over discrepancies over bonuses paid by each of the car giants.

An employment tribunal in Manchester ruled Mr Walker Smith’s unfair dismissal claim was successful - though he may have contributed to his own demise and the award was reduced by 50 per cent.

Employment Judge Rebecca Howard heard some of the difficulties centred on a £60,000 clawback provision, being sought by Peugeot over a failure to meet training standards.

Mr Walker Smith was accused of failing to adequately supervise a financial manager, putting the firm at risk of having to pay out that sum.

The same financial manager, who was also dismissed, was also found to have shifted Nissan bonus money from 2016 to offset 2015 losses, in the sum of around £140,000.

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He insisted neither of the identified errors were the responsibility of a general manager and called a witness, a retired Perrys financial manager, Tony Cowpe, to support his assertions.

One of the Perrys’ witnesses also accepted there was no evidence to support their claims over the Nissan debts.

Ruling in Mr Walker Smith’s favour, Judge Howard said: “The claimant did not have line management responsibility for (the manager) and his financial accounting duties, which were overseen by the financial controller.”

The judge decided though that because Mr Walker Smith, after a meeting with Neil Muscrop, Peugeot’s managing director, had failed to secure a written assurance regarding the clawback, he had left Perry’s exposed to risk.

The tribunal heard that in the end an agreement was reached between Peugeot and Perrys which never saw the £60,000 handed over.

An employment tribunal had ruled on the case in 2017 but a final remedy hearing was delayed by an appeal.