Edinburgh The Watershed cafe admits 'problems' after staff complain about unpaid wages

An Edinburgh cafe has admitted to problems paying wages after staff complained on social media – with bosses telling workers they will “bring payments into line”.
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Staff and former workers from The Watershed cafe took to social media to call for a boycott of the cafe which is located at the Canal near Fountainbridge. Furious workers claimed they were owed wages for shifts, with one saying they were owed around £500 in three separate posts on Facebook, a local Reddit group for Edinburgh and on the cafe’s Google reviews page.

A spokesperson for the cafe admitted to the Evening News they had fallen behind with wages four times in the past two years. But they said they have secured money to “slowly” bring payments up to date for outstanding wages and bills.

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A claim of unpaid wages was made by a user of a Reddit forum who said they had gone on strike over the issue. They said: "The owner hasn’t paid his staff and owes all of us wages. He’s also done this to staff in the past too, but I didn’t take their warning seriously. Me and the girls who worked there went on strike until we were paid, but instead of paying us our hard-earned wages he’s just replaced us with more young women which he also probably won’t pay (and I’ve tried to warn).

The Watershed in Edinburgh said they'd been hit hard by the pandemicThe Watershed in Edinburgh said they'd been hit hard by the pandemic
The Watershed in Edinburgh said they'd been hit hard by the pandemic

"This business honestly needs to be closed down, and the bad Google reviews have started coming in. It’s disgusting that a place operating like this is up and running in Edinburgh.” Similar claims were made in a review on Google last month.

But the business said they’d lost half their customers and stressed many across the sector had suffered a downturn in trade which had not recovered due to people still working from home.

A spokesperson for Watershed said: “We have, over the last two years, been behind four times with wages, bills and stock. It has been without doubt the worst trading times we have ever had. After lockdown we have not seen a return to steady trading or any semblance of business pre-Covid.

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"This is not unique to ourselves. The hospitality industry has and is being hit very hard by current inflation, rising costs, quality staff shortages and a general downturn in trading.

Over the past few months we have had a few issues that developed into problems. To deal with this we have had to cut our costs and our staffing to the absolute core and have managed to secure funding to slowly bring all outstanding payments into line and to rework our opening, stocking and staffing to survive.

"We are just glad of a loyal customer base as we estimate less than half the public who once walked past the boat on their way to and from work are not there due to a high proportion of workers still working from home.”