Banditos Burrito Company on King Street has been forced to close its doors this week, leaving a number of its workers short of a salary.
The Mexican-themed restaurant has gone into liquidation after no longer being financially viable to continue as a business.
This has sent employees on “a wild goose chase” for the money they are due, after being left out of pocket by a combined total reaching thousands of pounds.
And one of the owners, Jim Hughes, has partially blamed staff for the shortfall.
In an email sent to his employees, he wrote: “The hard truth is that funds are so short for July because we lost two full weekends trading due to staff not being able to cover shifts; those two weekends alone would have covered the cost.”
In a post which has since been deleted, Duncan Hewitt, a former employee, took to social media to voice his anger over the situation.
He said: “After Jim and Steven Hughes made us all redundant without proper notice and essentially refused to pay our wage, it has concluded in liquidation of the company.
“None of us are receiving any payment and the amount due to me personally is £842. They should not be allowed to get away with this scot-free after seriously impacting the lives of a number of staff members.
“It’s wrong and happens way too much in this industry.”
A second employee, Ribh Lennox added:
“Jim Hughes and Steven Hughes of Banditos Burrito Company have sent all of us on a wild goose chase and are now leaving us all out of pocket of wages we are rightfully owed.”
“I am owed just over £600 from the company.”
Ribh and Duncan have both claimed that they worked at Banditos without a contract, something that is a legal requirement in the workplace.
Duncan, who worked there for four months, said: “Nobody was on a contract at all, even though we had all pressured him [the director] to get it done.”
In an e-mail sent to all members of staff, the director, Steven Hughes said: “There is no money to pay any outstanding debtors including remaining wage payments.
“We have tried everything over the last month to stop this from happening but our credits have forced this closure.”
Although Hughes appeared apologetic in the correspondence, he did not give any concrete solution to paying his worker’s their overdue wages.
The email concluded: “I fully understand the distress and financial burden that this places on everyone as we stand to lose everything due to the liquidation – I fully appreciate the position everyone is in.”
Prior to going into liquidation, staff were told that if a new owner was to buy over the company, then wages for July would be paid to them.
Otherwise, payment would be impossible.
In response to Duncan’s comments, Steven Hughes has vehemently denied the allegations that his staff were working without contracts, adding that the company has been basically bankrupt since the first day of opening.
And although they supported the business with personal funds, these assets have now been exhausted.
He said: “We are devastated at this because no-one has lost more than myself in the closing of the business, and to let the staff and suppliers down was the last thing I wanted.”
“To think that we have somehow facilitated this is ridiculous as I have lost everything in this closure.
“I completely understand the frustration and disappointment but I have done everything in my power to stop the closure. In the end it could not be stopped – we simply ran out of cash flow.”
Fourth-year BA (Hons) Journalism Studies student.
News Editor, Sports Editor and Head of Proofreading for Brig Newspaper.
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