A pub chain boss has stressed there will be “no impact” on its venue in Dundee following the closure of two other sites in the UK.
Abandon Ship premises in Glasgow and London closed with immediate effect on Monday after 20 staff received redundancies notices.
Founder Phil Donaldson said the venues had suffered “big losses” and it was no longer financially viable to keep them running.
The latest blow comes nearly two weeks after the MacMerry 300 bar chain – which Mr Donaldson was managing director of – went into administration.
Assets including staff and the Abandon Ship venue in Dundee were acquired by Belford.
The company’s sole director is AJ Mcmenemy, one of the men who set up MacMerry 300 with Mr Donaldson.
Assurances were given that all employment would be transferred over to Belford in a letter sent to staff following the acquisition of the venues.
Mr Donaldson said staff working at the Abandon Ship venues in Glasgow and London already worked for Belford prior to the transfer of MacMerry employees.
‘The last thing we want to do is close’
Speaking to The Courier, Mr Donaldson said: “The last thing we wanted to do was close these premises.
“We are in the business of running pubs, not closing them.
“The nature of the industry has meant it wasn’t viable to keep these businesses open, both sites were making big losses.
“We’ve tried to rescue our position but it wasn’t feasible trying to keep these venues open.
“We are devastated that we’ve had to close these two bars.
“There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears gone into creating them.
“All staff operating out of these venues only worked for Belford Ltd and have never worked for MacMerry 300.”
Bryan Simpson from Unite Hospitality described the move as a “new low” as he questioned the handling of the redundancies.
‘Run rough shod’
He said: “Despite reassurances verbally and in writing that ‘nothing is changing’ for staff at Abandon Ship bars only 12 days ago, Phil Donaldson has just issued redundancies notices to all staff at both these sites.
“This confirms to me that he has no intention of carrying out a genuine or meaningful consultation with these workers in accordance with well established employment law.
“This is a new low for a company and a former director who continues to run rough shod over the most basic of workers’ rights.”
Mr Donaldson said the location of the two venues had made it impossible to relocate staff to other premises.
He said: “The employees have been given the correct amount of notice.
“Unite are arguing there should be a consultation but the truth is there is nowhere else to put the staff.
“The venues are shut and there is no place else locally we can put them.
“I can’t take staff from the Covent Garden Abandon Ship and offer them a part-time barista job in Gracies in Broughty Ferry.
“It just isn’t viable for that to work.
“We are devastated at the situation at the venues in Glasgow and London.
“The businesses in Dundee won’t be impacted by the announcement today as the other venues try and regroup.”