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Jamie Oliver workers sacked by email savage celebrity chef who 'got greedy'; Jamie Oliver's restaurant group is shutting all but three of its 25 restaurants, leaving staff struggling despite the best efforts of the TV chef.

Byline: Graham Hiscott

Jamie Oliver's staff hit out after his restaurant firm went bust with the loss of 1,000 jobs yesterday.

The business, which includes Jamie's Italian, went into administration yesterday and all but three of his 25 outlets have closed.

The TV chef, 43, worth an estimated [pounds sterling]240million, said he is "devastated" and thanked those who "put their hearts and souls into this business over the years".

Jamie's Italian staff said they were told they had lost their jobs by email, just 30 minutes before it was widely confirmed.

One staff member, who did not wish to be named, said: "I'm really angry. Jamie won't be the one looking for a job and struggling to pay his bills, it'll be poor saps like us who worked for him.

"He and his management team got greedy.

"They thought they'd make billions without investing in the business. It was getting too commercial. I felt under pressure to get customers seated and ordered and then out too quickly.

"On busy nights it felt like a conveyor belt. Why pay [pounds sterling]100-plus for a meal when you feel under pressure to eat it quickly? You might as well go to McDonald's."

Full list of the 22 Jamie's Italians, Barbecoa and Fifteen restaurants closing

Administrators said all restaurant salaries will be paid up to date. Will Wright, of KPMG, said: "Our priority is to work with those employees who have been made redundant, providing any support and assistance they need."

Oliver offered [pounds sterling]4million to support a last-minute search for funds, but with "no investment forthcoming" and in light of difficult trading conditions, the firm appointed the administrators.

He said in a statement: "We launched Jamie's Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that."

Torrid tale of Jamie Oliver's restaurants - sackings, thefts and 'bully' brother-in-law boss

It could mark the end of Jamie Oliver's UK restaurant empire. Fifteen in Hoxton, East London, which opened in 2002, is among those closing. Other closures include the Barbecoa in St Paul's, Central London, a year after its other branch of the same name in the capital closed. At the time, 12 Jamie's Italian restaurants also shut.

Two Jamie's Italian outlets and a Jamie Oliver's Diner at Gatwick Airport will still trade in the short term as administrators explore options.

The administration does not directly affect Mr Oliver's other companies, which handle his media and licensing deals. However, accounts show Jamie Oliver Holdings had loaned the restaurant arm [pounds sterling]7.5million in 2017.

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said staff "must be offered robust support to help them through this challenging time".

Louisa Bull of Unite called it a "devastating blow for the chain's hard-working and loyal workforce", adding: "This is another dark day for the high street."

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Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Credit: Getty Images

Only three branches of Jamie's Italian are still open

Credit: Tristan Potter / SWNS

Closed signs have gone up across the country
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Title Annotation:Money
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 22, 2019
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