FORMER staff of Virgin Hotels Glasgow staged a protest to demand pay after 130 workers were made redundant days before Christmas.

It was previously reported that staff from all departments at the swanky new hotel on Clyde Street were called into a meeting at noon yesterday.

Virgin Hotels CEO James Bermingham was flown in from the US to tell staff they were redundant with immediate effect and the hotel had closed.

At the time, bosses refused to confirm if workers would be paid for their work this month on payday (December 29).

Company liquidators later confirmed that the workers would be paid full wages up to December 31 with payslips to be posted out in due course.

Standing outside the hotel at 2pm on Wednesday, former chef at Virgin's Commons Club Restaurant Hayley McCook said she was due to start her shift at noon yesterday.

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She said: "A few staff were due to start at 11am but after they got changed into their whites and went down to the kitchen it was locked.

"I'm angry. I'm angry about the lack of transparency.

"Weeks ago they told us our jobs were safe and it was business as usual - and then to just rip that rug from beneath us before Christmas is diabolical.

"A lot of people we work with have houses, families and kids to provide for.

"There is so much uncertainty for everyone and they are denying us the right to know when we are getting paid."

Natalya King, a bartender at both the Commons Club Restaurant and Highyard Mezzanine, said she had to scramble to get her belongings from the building before being asked to leave out the back door.

She added: "Today they are not allowing anyone in at all even if you have stuff inside – they said they're going to put it in black bags and you get to collect your black bag, it's disgusting behaviour.

"It's five days to Christmas and we have to collect our belongings from black bags."

Widespread confusion over who the employees were working for has caused anger among staff who lost their jobs.

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The Glasgow Times reported on December 14 that Lloyds Developments Limited, which owned the building of the new Virgin Hotels Glasgow, was forced to enter administration on December 1.

At the time, a spokesperson for Virgin Group said: "This administration process is purely about the capital structure of the property."

They claimed that Virgin Hotels managed the property for the building owner under a standard hospitality management agreement.

Four days later, a spokesperson for Virgin Group claimed the firm had made several different offers to the lender in a bid to keep the business running.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the firm in charge of running the hotel, V Hotel Glasgow Limited, could not afford to continue.

V Hotel Glasgow Ltd is the operating company for the Virgin Hotels Glasgow and the hotel has ceased trading following the property owners, Lloyds Developments Ltd, entering into an insolvency process earlier in December.

The directors of both V Hotels Glasgow Ltd and Lloyds Developments Ltd are Richard Diamond and Rishipal Singh.

Natalya said: "It feels demoralising especially since a lot of us were under the impression that we were hired by Virgin, not V Hotels, not people who owned the building – we thought we were hired by Virgin themselves.”

Bryan Simpson, lead organiser for Unite the Union’s hospitality sector, said: “The last 24 hours have been complete mayhem, not least because we still don’t know who the actual direct employer of these 130 workers is.

“As far as we’re concerned, and that’s why we're here today outside Virgin Hotels flagship in Glasgow because it's their name on the door.

"They are the ones that flew out their CEO to tell our members they were losing their jobs with immediate effect."

He added: “I’ve dealt with some of the worst employers in Britain and I've never seen something so obscene and so outrageous to happen just six days before Christmas. Especially with the confusion."

Sarah Cook and Simon Carvill-Biggs of FRP Advisory have been instructed by the bosses of V Hotel Glasgow Ltd to liquidate the company.

Sarah Cook of FRP said: “We know that this will be a very difficult time for employees, particularly so close to Christmas.

"Every effort has been made by the directors and by Virgin Hotels to find a way forward for the hotel in recent weeks, but this has unfortunately not been possible. 

“The immediate closure of the hotel has, of course, resulted in the business no longer being financially viable and will therefore enter a liquidation process in the coming weeks. 

“We are grateful to Virgin Hotels for their support in making up the shortfall in the business finances to enable us to make payroll and ensure that all employees will receive full wages up to December 31.

"We will also continue to support employees in making any further claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.”