TROUBLES are piling up for the Scotsman Hotel with staff wages being paid more than two weeks late, suppliers allegedly putting contracts on hold and customers complaining of poor service.
One employee at the five-star establishment on North Bridge told the Evening News she had to wait 16 days for her monthly pay, while a colleague was advised to borrow money from friends or neighbours to pay her train fare to work.
She also claimed firms refused to supply the hotel because of unpaid bills, leaving staff to go out and buy from shops.
And comments left on the travel website TripAdvisor complained about problems ranging from a lack of hot water to a broken lift.
The Evening News revealed last month that staff at the hotel had been warned their wages might not be paid on time because of a “challenging trading period”. In a letter to employees, management acknowledged the news would be “frustrating” but said they were giving staff notice of the problem so they could make “alternative financial arrangements”.
And last week the hotel admitted it was planning to cut the workforce, which currently stands at around 160, and was looking at voluntary redundancies.
The hotel is part of the JJW Hotels and Resorts group, which is in turn part of MBI International, headed by Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber.
One staff member who contacted the Evening News said she had only just received her monthly pay, 16 days late. “Other people have still not been paid,” she said.
“The first time we were paid late, in December, the head of accounts for MBI came up and promised us in person it would not happen again, but it has.
“They randomly pick who is paid when. Some will be paid on a Tuesday, some on Wednesday and some on Thursday.
“Everyone is angry, annoyed and very upset because they are stressed and worried. A lot of people are going to the doctor’s.”
She said the hotel’s announcement last week that it planned a ten-room extension despite its difficulties had angered staff.
“It’s making out everything is ok and the money is fine when staff are still not being paid. People were very irate.”
A spokesman for the hotel said: “We can confirm that remuneration payments are sometimes delayed and is made late to some employees. This matter is essentially administrative and has been resolved.
“The Scotsman takes pride in dealing with local suppliers. Kitchen brigades are encouraged to develop culinary menus utilising seasonal produce.
“The Scotsman Hotel has an experienced and award-winning kitchen brigade, headed by executive head chef Paul Hart, who works with many local suppliers to deliver seasonal menus for the hotel North Bridge Brasserie.”