Glasgow hospitality group dismissing newest staff, union claims

By Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter

One of Scotland’s largest hospitality companies has terminated staff contracts amid the coronavirus outbreak, a trade union has claimed.

Unite Hospitality said it has heard from staff that they were fired without notice on Thursday from their jobs with the G1 Group, if they had worked with the company for less than two years.

The PA news agency has spoken to three former employees who said they were dismissed from their jobs at venues in Glasgow and promised one week’s pay in lieu of notice.

Bryan Simpson, the organiser of Unite Hospitality in Scotland, said: “We are hearing reports from our members across the G1 Group that they have closed most venues in Glasgow and are sacking staff en masse.

“We may be in the middle of a public health crisis but this does not give the country’s largest hospitality employer carte blanche to run rough-shod over their loyal workforce.

“The very fact that they only appear to be targeting those workers with less than two years’ service would suggest that they know exactly what they are doing and this is morally wrong and an absolute disgrace.

“Unite Hospitality will be doing everything in our power to get justice for these workers who are now not going to be able to pay rent or bills during an acute crisis.”

The move comes as both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop called on businesses to support staff during the outbreak.

G1 Group has been asked for comment.

Usman Mohammed, who worked at the Grosvenor Cafe in Glasgow, says he was called by the general manager of the venue on Thursday to be told his contract was terminated.

He told the PA news agency: “She essentially said that due to the ongoing circumstances the venue was being closed down and my contract was being terminated.”

The 24-year-old also said he was told he would have to re-apply for his position when the bar reopens.

He added: “This has been handled very poorly.”

Another former employee, who asked not to be named, said he would have to seek benefits if he cannot find another job in the current climate.

He added: “The types of benefits that I’m eligible for won’t even come close to the low wage that I was earning at G1.

“As a result I’m looking at making difficult choices on what I’m going to have to cut back on in the next little while.”

To all of our fantastic customers and friends, it's with a heavy heart that we have had to take the decision to close…

Posted by The Corinthian Club on Friday, March 20, 2020

Posts on social media pages of the group’s venues, including the Corinthian Club, Committee Room No. 9 and the Grosvenor Cafe, announced plans to close the businesses due to the outbreak.

Another former employee said nothing has been provided to staff in writing, and “everyone is being told different things” about their dismissal.

Staff at the Grosvenor have written to the company, and owner Stefan King, calling for negotiations to take place.

The letter claims 70 staff were fired, which they allege is in violation of government “collective consultation” rules which say there must be a consultation period along with 30 days’ notice if more than 20 members of staff are made redundant.