‘Slippery’ pub boss ‘owes staff £10k’ in unpaid wages

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unpaid wages: pub employees are seeking answers after losing out on thousands of pounds
Unpaid wages: pub employees are seeking answers after losing out on thousands of pounds

Related tags: Staff

More than 20 pub employees have claimed a former multi-site operator has failed to pay them wages that collectively total more than £10,000.

Pub staff from Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire told The Morning Advertiser​ they were chasing unpaid wages from a pub boss who operated sites owned by Star, Admiral and Marston’s.

A 17-year-old girl and a mother – who feared she would be evicted after she could not pay her rent – were among those who said they had been either underpaid or not paid for work at sites run by Dan Fisher.

Former employees from sites across the country had shared their stories and details about lost salaries in a private Facebook group, seen by The Morning Advertiser​.

The pubs in question include the Brook & Barter in St Neots, Cambridgeshire; the Wedgwood in Northampton; the Lion in Daventry, Northampton; and the Bear and Barley Mow sites, both in Bedford.

Staff claimed they lost out on entire month’s wage packets on some occasions, while others claimed they were paid for fewer hours than they had worked or on a lower rate than had been agreed.

Several members of staff said they later discovered they were not registered as employees at their pub with HMRC and also claimed their National Insurance contributions were pocketed by Fisher.

Attempts to raise concerns with management fell on deaf ears with calls, emails, texts and letters going unanswered and many sites under new operation, they said.

Going nowhere

Fay Kingham started working at the Brook & Barter in late September 2018 and did not receive any wages until November, she claimed.

She reported concerns about pay violations and tax fraud to HMRC in January and said she was losing hope about her peers ever being repaid.

She told The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​): “It just feels like it's going nowhere, more and more people are losing their livelihoods, and having to move house because they can't pay their rent. 

“It's disgusting behaviour, he is just running us all into the ground.”

HMRC and ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) said they do not comment on individual cases.

Nina Stevens’ daughter Jodie is owed more than £500 from her time working at the Lion, Daventry, which was her first job.

She worked as a glass collector every weekend from October 2018 to April 2019 without any issue but was not paid properly for April and May. 

Her mother told MA​: “She absolutely loved her job and was treated very well to start off with, then things went downhill.”

Jodie received her April wages after raising the issue with the pub manager but was only paid for 50 hours at what she said was a lower hourly rate than agreed, even though she claimed to have worked 72 hours. 

Dodges everything

Jodie and Nina tried to meet with Fisher and the pub manager but said they were told to “just take me to court” by Fisher when the pair walked into the pub.

They sent Fisher a letter outlining what was owed after advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Nina said: “We emailed him the letter. We couldn't get anything from there onwards because we could never actually get the slippery man.

“He won't take my phone calls. He just dodges everything that we tried to do. 

“You have a 17-year-old who has worked, worked, loved working there, enjoyed the job and the environment, get treated like this. 

“It's not on. You don't treat kids like this, especially when you have kids who want to go to work.”

No response 

Fisher had operated three sites with Star Pubs & Bars but the pubco confirmed he was no longer a licensee with them. 

A Star spokesperson said: “Our licensees run independent businesses and employ their own staff.”

A Marston’s spokesperson confirmed that its site, the Brook & Barter in St Neots, was also being operated by a new licensee.

The spokesperson said: “Marston’s became aware of issues in August and acted accordingly within 48 hours of hearing these, consequently revoking Mr Fisher from the retail agreement. 

“There is currently a new retailer who is operating the Brook & Barter under a completely separate business.”

Dan Fisher was contacted multiple times for a response to the allegations but had not responded by the time of publication.

Related topics: Legislation

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