A FOOD company which recently saw employees take legal action to try to recover unpaid wages has gone into administration, with the loss of scores of jobs, The Northern Echo has learnt.

The Baked Snack Company, which was accused of not paying staff during January or February, has appointed administrators after being unable to meet its financial obligations.

The Middlesbrough-based business, which was bought by Mobeen Mehdi in a management buyout in May last year for up to £2.68m, employed 90 people. Some left earlier in the year when it was unable to pay their wages.

Twice employees have demonstrated outside the plant – in October last year and April – in protest at being left in arrears.

More than 20 tribunals have since been filed against the Baked Snacks Company by employees claiming for unlawful deduction, breach of contract and constructive dismissal.

But yesterday, it emerged that the Teesside factory, which makes a range of biscuits and baked snacks, appointed administrators from MCR late last month. Mr Mehdi originally set up the company as the Britannia Biscuits Co in 2001, but went into receivership two years later, when it was bought by Britannia Biscuits International, which shared some directors with the site’s previous owners.

He bought the site back from subsequent owner Zetec through his Tilbury Property Ltd venture.

The businessman told last year how the biscuit manufacturer had secured orders of up to £12m as it looked to expand, but said it needed about £600,000 to meet its working capital requirements and financial commitments to Zetar, which bought the business in 2007.

Jimmy Skivington, regional organiser for the GMB union, which represented workers at the plant, said: “The whole situation is an absolute mess.

“They weren’t paying wages for some considerable time and many people refused to go back and therefore suffered considerable hardship as a result.

“Then, when they did get people to go back, they were paying them on an ad-hoc basis, and now this has happened.

“It really is a completely sorry situation.”

Yesterday, MCR confirmed it is handling the administration, but said it could not comment further.