Scottish bar owners accused of 'systemic mistreatment' in letter published by Unite Hospitality

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Scottish hospitality firms MacMerry 300 and Abandon Ship Ltd. have been accused of 'systemic mistreatment' across their bars and pubs in a mass complaint issued by their staff. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the companies has said they "utterly refute the Claims" and that some of the complainers haven't worked for them for over two years.

In the letter, published in part by sector union Unite Hospitality, team members across the 13 venues located in Glasgow and Dundee allege that upper management covered up a Covid outbreak during the festive period, expecting staff to work despite the risk to themselves and guests. 

It says that staff "were expected or felt pressured to come to work" whilst awaiting PCR tests, and that "staff feeling uncomfortable about coming to work during an active outbreak are being threatened with disciplinary action."

What's more, the letter reportedly claims that systemic bullying takes place within the businesses, that sexual harassment complaints haven't been appropriately dealt with, wages haven't paid properly (e.g. sick pay left unpaid, unpaid pension contributions and payslips not given to staff) and that a number of other health and safety breaches have taken place. 

A spokesperson for the companies, which is poised to launch an 'Abandon Ship' site in Covent Garden later this year, has rejected all claims but said that it is willing to discuss concerns with the people involved in the accusations, telling The Courier: “Hospitality is a highly regulated industry where staff and customer safety is paramount.

“We first learned of any alleged issues today and are amazed that Unite took first to social media rather than raising any concerns with our management team.

“We would also point out that some of the reported complainers have not worked with us for over two years.

“We utterly refute the claims made and will be consulting with staff immediately to find out why allegations may have been levelled. We are of course also willing to discuss any genuine grievances or concerns.”

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 7th January 2022

Scottish bar owners accused of 'systemic mistreatment' in letter published by Unite Hospitality