Licensee Stephen Howard has admitted “sacking” staff members at Pearsons over social media and phone messages, leaving them “fuming” because they were not told in a face-to-face meeting.
He has been in charge of the Princes Avenue venue since last month, having previously worked as the venue’s manager, but says he had to act to bring in new staff after what he claims were a number of issues with the existing workers.
The pub, which is leased by Lancashire firm Inglenook Inns and Taverns, has confirmed they are investigating.
Two staff members were told they were no longer working at the pub via Facebook, while a third was told of her sacking in a text message.
He says he had good reason to lose each of the five staff for reasons they all dispute. Mr Howard says none of the staff he let go were on contracts, but were instead paid cash in hand.
Hayley Hoyland was one of the staff members to be let go.
Speaking about the texts she received, she said: “It’s not very professional to be sacked via a message and felt like he actually didn’t appreciate anything we did for him.
“And it felt like he used us for over the busy period then kicked us out for new staff.”
Rob Chadwick was Mr Howard’s assistant manager and resigned over fears he would be sacked.
After informing his boss, he then had a message saying he would “be sacked anyway”.
He said: “I was fuming the way he sent me a text saying I was going to sack you anyway.”
“It made me feel sick and it made me so angry for about four days, even though I started my new job.”
Sarah Puckering was told of her sacking in person after being asked to come in unexpectedly.
She said: “I went into work at seven and was asked to go upstairs. He just said: ‘look, I’m just going to have to let you go.’
“I was quite upset. I’m a single parent. I’m trying to get by every day. I need the money to support my poorly daughter.”
In response, Stephen Howard, who runs the pub said: “I genuinely have this pub at heart and I do love this pub.
“They’ve not been with me any length of time anyway, so I’m pretty happy that what I have done is right. To be fair, if I have to give written notice, in effect, sending a message is that.
“I just think, knowing the people as I do, I think it’s just petty and they’re just trying to get a little bit of satisfaction by getting me the sack.”
In a statement, Inglenook Inns and Taverns, who lease the building from Greene King, said: “As an organisation Inglenook Group always treat people with professionalism and courtesy.
“While we do not directly employ the team at Pearson’s as they are employed by the pub’s operator, we are already looking into this further.”