Hospitality firms across Glasgow rally round to offer support to stricken Abandon Ship staff

·4-min read
Pictures by Gordon Terris
Pictures by Gordon Terris

Businesses across Glasgow have rallied to help stricken staff who lost their jobs when a busy city centre bar went under earlier this week.

Abandon Ship in Mitchell Street closed its doors suddenly on Monday - just two weeks after promising workers their positions were safe.

Staff found themselves locked out of the building and were told they would receive just a week's redundancy pay from owners Belford Ltd, who had taken over the business from now-liquidated MacMerry 300 after administrators were called in last month.

Stunned staff have today been thrown a lifeline by venues across the city after they mobilised to try and help them back into employment.

The Cathouse, Gaucho and Amore restaurant are among a string of firms to post job opportunities online for workers after being moved by their plight.

A Twitter post from the Cathouse states: “If anyone that worked there is looking for some work we are looking for some glass collectors and door stewards.”

Ross Campbell was one of those who lost his job when Abandon Ship went under on Monday.

He has blasted bosses for their treatment of his former colleagues.

He said: "What happened was a disgrace, but the one positive has been the reaction of the Glasgow bar and club community.

"People have been so generous in reaching out to us to offer us work, be it part or full-time positions.

"We were shocked on Monday, but sadly not surprised. There was a hard-working team of people at Abandon Ship who were treated disgracefully by management.

"Turning up to find the security codes had been changed on the door was a final slap in the face. We are all stunned, the conduct of management has been shameless, but our main priority now is getting what we are entitled to and moving on to work somewhere the bosses are more appreciative of the effort people are willing to put in.

"Many of us are understandably worried about how we are going to pay our bills, but thankfully the response from the hospitality scene has been incredible."

READ MORE: Abandon Ship in Glasgow shuts down despite previous assurances staff jobs were safe

Former Abandon Ship assistant general manager Jamie MacKay added: “We were told on Saturday that we were shutting for two days for refurbishment, only to then find out on Monday at 8.30am by email that we were all losing our jobs. This was only two weeks after we all were reassured our jobs were safe and that the liquidation wouldn’t impact us.

“It’s a shame as the team was very hard working. To give people no warning just shows the owners don’t care about their employees.”

Staff were told last month that their jobs had been saved after Abandon Ship was transferred to Belford Limited. But in a letter to workers, Phil Donaldson, previously a director of MacMerry 300, announced that the bar would close with immediate effect, as well as its sister venue in London.

Unite the Union have accused bosses of ‘a new low’ and have blasted the treatment of workers.

Bryan Simpson, industrial organiser at Unite Hospitality, said: “Despite reassurances verbally and in writing that ‘nothing is changing’ for staff at Abandon Ship bars only 12 days ago, Phil Donaldson has issued redundancy notices to all staff at both sites confirming to me that he has no intention of carrying out genuine or meaningful consultation with those workers in accordance with well-established employment law.

“This is a new low for a company and a former director who continues to run roughshod over the most basic of workers’ rights.”

Mr Donaldson said in a statement today that he hoped former staff members will be able to find new roles.

He added: “I really hope all the employees made redundant find further employment and I wish them every success in the future. We will support them with references where possible and offer advice when needed.

“This is a tough time for all. There is a real shortage of hospitality staff in the city at the moment so I would hope that there will be plenty of suitable positions available with other city operators.

“If any other operator would like to pick up the phone to me to see where I can relocate the staff, I will be happy to help.”

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