MORE than 20 people have been made redundant in two bars linked to the scandal-mired MacMerry300 company.

Phil Donaldson, the previous director of MacMerry300 Ltd, has handed out redundancy notices to his employees in Abandon Ship venues in Glasgow and London after assuring them that “nothing is changing”.

This follows a high-profile scandal earlier this year when workers complained through trade union Unite over working conditions, including allegations that employees were told to disregard Covid rules, as well as reports of sexual assault being dismissed and that tax payments were being deducted without being passed on to HMRC.

MacMerry300 Ltd was liquidated last month after administrators transferred Abandon Ship Glasgow to Belford Ltd, a company formed by MacMerry300 director Andrew John McMenemy, which sparked hopes that jobs would be saved.

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The company was voluntarily wound up as HMRC was reportedly seeking payment of a six-figure tax debt.

But following the ownership transfer, one insider informed the Glasgow Times that employees had been told there was “nothing to worry about”.

They added: “Everyone is obviously relieved as there was a lot of uncertainty.

"It's good to have some clarity and peace of mind and we can get on with the job of serving our customers."

It was reported that while 63 workers would lose their jobs, Belford Ltd would be rehiring staff.

But it has now been announced that employees at Abandon Ship in Glasgow and London will be made redundant following their immediate closure, prompting accusations that the company is “riding rough shod” over workers’ rights.

Donaldson claimed that “extremely challenging trading conditions” were to blame.

Unite, which represents employees of Belford Ltd, posted a letter from Donaldson to his workers on Twitter.

It read: “Due to extremely challenging trading conditions we have had no option but to close Abandon Ship Glasgow and Abandon Ship Covent Garden with immediate effect.

“It is regrettable that we have to give you the statutory 1 week redundancy notice as of today, Monday 4th July 2022.

“We wish you every success in your future employment and will of course support you with references where required.

“Yours sincerely, Phil.”

Bryan Simpson, an industrial organiser for Unite, 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 redundancy notices to all staff at both sites confirming to me that he has no intention of carrying out a genuine or meaningful consultation with those 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.”

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Speaking on Monday, Donaldson said: "It’s a very sad day for myself and the team as we have put many years into building and creating this bar brand and those two sites. I am devastated for everyone who has been involved along the way and now for the staff that will be made redundant.

"Due to extremely challenging trading conditions we are no longer in a position to carry on trading at these two venues. Coming out of Covid, the rise in commercial bills and product prices mixed with the constant barrage of negative press from the newspapers it has become impossible to carry on trading at these two sites.

"All the staff being made redundant have worked for Belford throughout their employment at the two sites. The sites will remain closed until a new tenant can be found."

When he was asked about staff being told they would keep their jobs less than two weeks earlier, he said: "In business, when the outgoings outweigh the incomings for too long something has to give. Sadly that has been the case at these two particular sites."