A group of five Unite members have won their tribunal claim for unfair and wrongful dismissal against Scotland’s largest hospitality employer following their dismissal from the Grosvenor Cafe on Ashton Lane in September 2017.
In its written judgement of the case, the full panel Tribunal Court held that the G1 Group had “breached the contracts of three claimants by failing to give notice or payment in lieu" and had “unfairly dismissed” the other two “in terms of Section 98 of the Employment Relations Act 1998”1.
This judgement is in addition to the earlier concession by lawyers representing the company that their clients had acted in breach of its employees’ statutory rights when they refused staff the right to be represented by their chosen trade union representative - Bryan Simpson of Unite.
In a scathing assessment of the G1 Group’s handling of the dismissals, Judge Shona Maclean held that the Hospitality giant had “not carried out a reasonable and proper procedure and the decision to dismiss…fell out with the band of reasonable responses which a reasonable employer might have adopted”2.
Particular criticism was reserved for the appeal manager G1 Group operations director Michael Thomas who was described as an “unimpressive witness…who had no intention of upholding the claimant’s appeal regardless of what was said at the appeal hearing”3.
The judgement comes three years after the Group was fined £45,000 for failing to pay 2,895 staff the minimum wage4. The Group was also forced to pay back £411,000 to Skills Development Scotland after “major financial irregularities” were found5.
Bryan Simpson from Unite Hospitality said: “The G1 Group threw everything at this case; media smears, intimidatory tactics6 and the best lawyers money can buy and yet a collective of minimum wage bar staff have come out on top.
“This was very much a David and Goliath story for the hospitality industry - one that should give confidence to hospitality workers across the country that they do not need to put-up with exploitation. They should join Unite and get involved in the campaign to transform the industry.”
1. Tribunal Judgement, Page 4
2. Tribunal Judgement, Paragraph 192
3. Tribunal Judgement, Paragraph 191
4. West Regent Street. The letter contained a formal complaint regarding the representation
5. Dailyrecord.co.uk, Millionaire Stefan King's nightclub and bar empire named and shamed for not paying minimum wage to 3000 employees
6. Evening Telegraph, Firm behind tayside pubs forces to repay 400k for incorrectly claiming funds