Ayr’s oldest pub has shut AGAIN leaving furious staff claiming they have been left out of pocket.
The Black Bull on River Street was first opened in 1754 and has survived many turmoils in its time, including a blaze that broke out in 2014.
But last Thursday, workers were told mid-shift to collect their belongings and leave, with the tenant having been given no warning of the foreclosure.
Now, employees have joined a hospitality union to fight for what they are owed – and their boss has stated “they will get paid”.
Day-shift manager, 23-year-old Charlotte Forsyth, was mid-shift when the pub’s owners, Rosemount Taverns, marched in and said they were shutting up shop.
Charlotte told the Post: “I was in for about two hours and the head from Rosemount Taverns turned up and said: ‘I need the keys – I’m changing the locks, my joiner’s on his way.’
“I was crying and everything.
“I’ve only be there for just over a month and I’ve not been paid a penny.
“I still have bills to pay like everybody else.
“I would not have left a stable job had I thought that in a month I’d be talking about signing on – it’s not on.
Tenant Scott Burnell, of Glasgow, claimed he knew nothing about the decision to close and confirmed staff will receive outstanding wages.
Mr Burnell said: “It wasn’t my decision at all – the pub company wanted to (close).
“It came as a shock to me – I didn’t know anything about it until after it had actually happened.
“The wages haven’t come through yet – it’s a four-week cycle.
“They were paid two weeks ago and they’ll be due to get paid in two weeks’ time – and they will be paid.
“I’ll be 100 per cent honest – I’m going to have to find that money from somewhere else.”
Furious workers took to social media to vent their anger after receiving information that claimed Mr Burnell had previously outed other workers of a job and money.
Mr Burnell denied the claims and said: “I know what they’re saying on Facebook and that is not the case at all.
“I don’t set out to rip anybody off – I had no idea that pub was closing yesterday.
“Pubs do run into trouble – it happens – I’m not going to run away from this.”
Distraught barmaid and mum-of-two Dianne McConnachie said: “I’ve got children to feed and a roof to put over my head.
“I live in a private let with a private landlord so I can be punted out any time.
“Myself and colleague Jade are single parents – we’re the only people bringing money into our houses.
“So what do we do? Do we go and sign on?”
Boss Mr Burnell added: “The pub was closed down because it was losing so much money.
“It was a disaster in terms of the administration and financial control of the pub from the management.
“I think the level of incompetence and mismanagement was horrific.
“And then we discovered they’d been buying stuff on credit. There’s nothing wrong with that, that wasn’t their fault but I found another £4000 in credit that hadn’t been paid for – it was absolutely out of control.
“I was told on Friday morning the debt to the brewery was £720 and by Tuesday afternoon, it had risen to £4000.
“It didn’t make any sense.
“I’ve got a list of about £500/ £600 of advances paid out so they were not telling you that.
“I know it looks bad for me and I’m prepared to accept that, but it’s not as black and white.”
Bryan Simpson, Unite Hospitality Organiser said: “This is not the first time that Scott Burnell has tried to cut and run with his workers’ hard-earned wages, but it will certainly be the last.
“As the Director of Wire Inns, Idlewild and The Raven Hotel, he already owes thousands of pounds to former workers in unpaid wages.
“Unite will continue to support our members at the Black Bull to get what they’re entitled to.
“We have received assurances from the leaseholders of the pub – Rosemount Taverns – that as soon as they find new tenants for the pub they will endeavour to keep the staff in their jobs.”
Rosemount Taverns were unavailable for comment as we reached our deadline.
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