Former Jamie Oliver restaurant workers set to fight for thousands in unpaid redudancy payments
Former employees of Jamie Oliver's restaurant chain in Scotland are seeking justice after being made redundant despite previous assurances all was well with the company.
Some 1000 jobs are expected to be lost after the popular celebrity chef announced 22 of his 25 restaurants across the UK would close, including the two based in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In a statement posted online, Oliver said he was "devastated" the his restaraunt chain had gone into adminstration.
Unite Scotland is supporting those left in the dark by the company to claim redundancy payments, unpaid wages, and outstanding holiday pay, all of which are still owed to them.
In a powerful video testimony, several workers describe turning up to work only to be told not to put their uniform on as the company had gone into adminstration.
The union say the ex-employees are owed tens of thousands of pounds, and Unite are also campaigning for a change in the law so that redudancy payments are paid automatically to workers who could otherwise face lengthy legal challenges to get what they are owed.
Praising the workers for speaking up, Bryan Simpson, Unite Scotland hospitality coordinator said: “These heartbreaking and angering stories from our members at Jamie’s Italian really highlight that there is a serious problem in the hospitality industry for workers. These workers devoted themselves to making this business a success, absorbing all the cost cutting and pressures from above, but when it came down to it were treated appallingly by Jamie's.
"In speaking up, Unite's members are shining a light on an increasingly unstable sector where it is the workers on the restaurant floor pay the heaviest price for boardroom mistakes.
“Not only do we intend to reclaim what this group of workers is owed, but we will fight for the law to be changed so that no worker should have to face these injustices in the future.
"The existing law is entirely inadequate when it comes to protecting workers' wages when a business goes to the wall. It is high time that the law was amended to deliver justice for working people."
Employment law is a reserved to Westminster, but Unite Scotland said they back the devolution of these powers to Holyrood.
Image: Suzie Katz / Embedded video: Unite Scotland