Scotsman Hotel warn staff they may not be paid

Staff at the Scotsman Hotel, owned by a group headed by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, below left, have all received a letter, below. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
Staff at the Scotsman Hotel, owned by a group headed by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, below left, have all received a letter, below. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
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STAFF at the five-star Scotsman Hotel have been warned their wages may not be paid on time because of a “challenging trading period”.

In a letter to employees, the management of the hotel on North Bridge acknowledged the news would be “frustrating” but said they were giving staff notice of the problem so they could make “alternative financial arrangements”.

The hotel’s bosses also insisted they would all be paid in the end.

The hotel, which has a workforce of about 160, 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.

The letter to staff said it was expected the situation would improve over the next three months and thanked workers for their “continuous loyalty and support”.

Last month, the Evening News contacted the hotel after claims kitchen staff had staged a stoppage because their wages had not been paid. A spokeswoman at the time said the claims were “inaccurate”.

The News also asked about unpaid bills from suppliers, but the spokeswoman said: “As far as I’m aware, all accounts are up to date, and added: “There is no problem at all.”

The management declined to comment on the current situation.

But a letter to employees from hotel general manager Helen Gallagher, seen by the Evening News, said: “As many of you know we are currently experiencing a challenging trading period throughout the group.

“It is anticipated this will change in the next three months, allowing us to manage our payments to suppliers and return to our regular payment cycles.

“Senior executives at MBI International have advised that during this period remuneration payments may run late, although not always.

“Specific payment dates cannot be confirmed today, but our teams and colleagues will be paid as quickly as possible.”

The letter went on: “In line with the employment contracts we are obliged to give reasonable notice of any likelihood of late payment if we become aware of the same and believe by making you aware as soon as we are able will allow you to organise alternative financial arrangements where possible.

“We understand this update is frustrating however all remunerations will be paid.”

It said employees could make an appointment if they wished to discuss the matter further. And it finished: “Your continuous loyalty and support during this time is acknowledged and is greatly appreciated.”

The hotel – which has 56 rooms and 12 suites – was opened in 2001 by the newly formed Scotsman Hotel Group in the building which used to house the Evening News.

The hotel made a profit of £180,000 the following year, but its financial position worsened and the group – which also included hotels in Leeds and Paris – was bought by JJW in 2006.

In November 2011, administrators were called in, but Sheik Al Jabar bought the group back out of administration the following month.