G1 Group halts 'sacking hospitality staff across Scotland' after putting blame on coronavirus outbreak

Staff had claimed that G1 Group sacked all of their hospitality staff across Scotland with less than two year's employment. 

Published 20th Mar 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Due to the ongoing coronavirus spread, many restaurants and bars have had to close and let staff go.

However, hospitality group G1 had reportedly taken more drastic measures by sacking the majority of their staff from their venues across Scotland.

Late on Thursday 19 March, workers spoke out about the fact that the G1 group were sacking a majority of their hospitality staff, focusing on those with less than two years of employment with the company.

Some employees took to social media to vent their frustration.

One worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they were told yesterday, shocked by the decision they said: "A lot of people are angry, not just about the sackings but also about the lack of action from the government, some people haven't even been given any notice."

Another worker, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: "I’ve been left with no job, no income in this horrible moment of global pandemic. I wouldn’t mind not getting any hours for a few weeks and at least have a secure job after everything comes back to normal.

"Instead all I was told is that due to spread of coronavirus G1 had to make decision of shutting few venues down and my workplace is one of them."

Action Group, Better Than Zero - who campaign against exploitative employers in Scotland - have written an open letter to G1 owner Stefan King regarding the mass sackings.

A spokesperson from Better Than Zero said: "The response from workers to G1's sickening approach is inspiring.

"In the face of terminated contracts staff are remaining united and combining to take action and get what they deserve. If you are being fired or suspect you might be, or if you are asked to sign a new contract, stand together and get in touch.

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'There are many tactics you can use, and we are urging workers who feel there is a risk of similar action to get in touch. The best thing you can do is to organise together. This is what the G1 staff are doing, with support from Unite and Better Than Zero."

Bryan Simpson of Unite Hospitality responded to the G1 Group redundancies, saying: “We are hearing reports from our members across the G1group that they have closed most venues in Glasgow and are sacking staff en masse by message and without notice.

"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 2 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.”

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G1 operates many bars across Scotland, with big names such as The Corinthian Club, Ghillie Dhu, Biddy Mulligans, The Bothy, Mitchell's St Andrews and Forgan's.

Halt on sackings

After the chancellor's announcement on Friday regarding measures on paying staff and helping businesses during this time, G1 issued a statement.

As reported by the BBC, this statement acknowledged that it had given notice to a "significant number" of workers and had implemented short-term lay-offs "in the hope that we could return them to work at the earliest opportunity".

It continued: "That said - we quite deliberately chose to refrain from completing our formal process in the hope that the government would announce additional support.

"We, like employers and employees alike, received the news of the job retention scheme with relief and happiness and have today stopped all proposed action in its tracks as a result."

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The company will now review details of the announcement "as soon as they become available".

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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