Former Tigerlily employees accuse company of making staff redundant only to put out adverts to hire for the same positions less than six months later
Former employees of Montpeliers of Edinburgh, the group which own Tigerlily, Indigo Yard, Montpeliers, Rabble and Candy, have alleged that the company made dozens of staff members redundant during lockdown only to put out adverts to hire for the same positions less than six months later.
Staff members claim that in their redundancy meetings, they had been promised that they would be the ‘first called’ for positions when coronavirus restrictions allowed hospitality to reopen, but this week have seen the company advertise for new hires without being contacted.
On Wednesday night, Oliver Gold, a former part-time employee wrote in a Facebook post about the ‘horrible situation’ staff had been left in.
He alleged: “Tigerlily has failed to financially support its employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Having been placed on furlough for several months, the company decided to make the car, waiting, cleaning and hostess teams redundant to ‘save costs’.
“They also made us take our accumulated holidays as pay too as substitute for the furlough scheme.
“We were all promised our jobs back on reopening. Nobody has been contacted and for the past few days Tigerlily has been posting on social media advertising dozens of new positions.
“Please think about which companies you choose to support and give custom to those that actually value their staff. Many of us had been there for a long time and all our dedication and hardwork for the company feels unreciprocated.”
The post made on The Meadows Share Facebook group gained attention and support from the public who advised the former employees to contact a union representative.
However, just a day after the post was made Oliver has said that a number of redundant staff have now been contacted and offered their position back.
“After the publicity from my Meadows Share post last night, the company has very conveniently emailed us offering all our jobs back - with reference to the Facebook post,” he said.
Following the post being shared, staff members have also come forward and alleged that they had been treated poorly during their time with the company and have claimed that management kept half of all waiters’ service charges, bare minimum rest periods were given between shifts and staff food was sub-par including meals such as deep fried sandwiches and tomato ketchup pizzas.
As a result, Oliver says many of the staff members who have since been offered their job back will not be returning to the company.
Responding to the allegations, Innes Bolt, managing director of Montpeliers said: “We supported 100 per cent of our workforce during the first lockdown and while facing many challenges have managed to retain two thirds of our workforce throughout this second lockdown.
“We have been open and honest about how we had to reduce our labour bill. Furlough comes at a cost for employers, in our case it amounts to approximately 20 per cent of individual’s weekly wages and regrettably this was not sustainable for another lockdown.
“We have contacted those roles essential to a phased reopening, 24 out of the 46 employees who were made redundant were contacted before the social media post on March 31, 2021.
“Staffing is a critical part of our reopening, however current government restrictions do not allow the sale of alcohol indoors, so naturally bartenders will be the final employees contacted as part of this process. A third of the people we contacted had taken other jobs so we have had to advertise to ensure we have enough staff when restrictions ease.
“Staff keep 100 per cent of all tips and are made aware of our procedures when employed.
“We are committed to ensuring our staff’s wellbeing and fully recognise how difficult hospitality can be at times. If highlighted, we take feedback like this very seriously and have measures and procedures in place to address this, however there were no comments about the lack of breaks or the quality of staff food back in November for us to address.”