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Brewdog boss sorry for ‘lot of pain’ caused to staff and pledges review

Brewdog boss James Watt has said sorry to former workers.
Brewdog boss James Watt has said sorry to former workers.

Brewdog boss James Watt has promised an independent review of the beer firm after former staff alleged there was a culture of fear within it.

A letter from ex-workers posted on Twitter claimed a “significant number” of former staff have “suffered mental illness as a result of working at Brewdog”.

It made a number of allegations, including that Brewdog fostered a culture where staff were afraid to speak out about concerns.

Mr Watt has posted online to say he takes “100%” of the blame.

As well as the review, he said the beer giant would carry out an anonymous staff survey to “paint a comprehensive picture of the Brewdog culture at every level”.

 

Writing on LinkedIn, the company co-founder apologised to staff for the “lot of pain” they have been caused.

“I am ultimately responsible for the culture. The letter that ex-colleagues wrote to us is 100% my fault,” he said.

“I can’t possibly have all the answers at the moment but my commitment to our team is that I am going to throw my heart and soul into working with them to fix these issues.”

‘We milked it’

The letter from ex-workers posted on Twitter also brought other internal issues to light.

It said Mr Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie had exploited publicity “both good and bad” to further their own business goals and chased “growth, at all costs”.

The Scottish brewer and pub chain employs 2,000 staff.

In his LinkedIn post, Mr Watt said: “I want to be very candid about some mistakes that I have made that have detrimentally impacted our culture.

“In the hard and fast environment of high growth, I have all too often neglected many important people elements of our business.

“Furthermore, despite surviving C-19 due to a phenomenal effort from our amazing team I had to make some very hard decisions to ensure our survival and these decisions have taken a considerable human toll on our business and had a negative impact.

“Additionally, some PR mistakes that I have made in our past have also had a detrimental impact on culture.

‘Never again’

He went on: “I can promise that I will not make these mistakes again.”

Part of the plan is to have exit interviews in the next two weeks with everyone who has left the company in the last 12 months.

He promised a salary review, postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And he has also pledged to form an employee representative group to “ensure employees have a clear voice”.

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