Union members win unfair dismissal case against G1 group

A group of five Unite members have won their tribunal claim for unfair and wrongful dismissal against Scotland’s largest hospitality employer following their dismissal from the Grosvenor Cafe on Ashton Lane in September 2017.

In its written judgement of the case, the full panel Tribunal Court held that the G1 Group had “breached the contracts of three claimants by failing to give notice or payment in lieu" and had “unfairly dismissed” the other two “in terms of Section 98 of the Employment Relations Act 1998”.

This judgement is in addition to the earlier concession by lawyers representing the Company that their clients had acted in breach of its employees’ statutory rights when they refused staff the right to be represented by their chosen trade union representative.

In a withering assessment of the G1 Group’s handling of the dismissals, Judge Shona Maclean held that the Hospitality giant had “not carried out a reasonable and proper procedure and the decision to dismiss…fell out with the band of reasonable responses which a reasonable employer might have adopted”.

Criticism was also reserved for the appeal manager G1 Group Operations Director Michael Thomas who was described as an “unimpressive witness…who had no intention of upholding the claimant’s appeal regardless of what was said at the appeal hearing”.

The judgement comes only three years after the Group were fined £45,000 for failing to pay 2,895 staff the minimum wage. The Group was also forced to pay back £411,000 to Skills Development Scotland after “major financial irregularities” were found.

Bryan Simpson, a representative from Unite Hospital welcomed the decision:“The G1 Group threw everything at this case; media smears, intimidatory tactics and the best lawyers money can buy and yet a collective of minimum wage bar staff have came out on top" he said, adding: "This was very much a David & Goliath story for the hospitality industry - one that should give confidence to hospitality workers across the country that they do not need to put-up with exploitation. They should join Unite Hospitality and get involved in the campaign to transform the industry.”

A spokeswoman from the G1 Group said before the hearing: "This enquiry relates to ongoing tribunal proceedings, and as such it would not be appropriate for us to comment at this stage."

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