The G1 Group are a notorious entertainment chain with businesses across Scotland. Now unions are fighting back.

G1 Group are notorious: possibly best know for the Shimmy Club, which installed two way mirrors in women’s toilets and charged male customers £800 to rent private booths to spy on them, the entertainment group is no stranger to controversy.

Here are some other recent features from G1’s Greatest Hits:

  • The Rape Joke Quiz. A pub quiz at G1 venue Radio was axed after the quizmaster asked “Is it still rape if you kill her first?”, and barred customers who complained
  • Disabled Access. A disabled couple won a discrimination case after they were refused entry to the Polo Lounge
  • Creating a homage to a racist nightclub. The Cotton Club is named after a whites-only club in Prohibition-era New York.

…and at Number One…..

G1 boss Stefan King

G1 boss Stefan King

But now unions are fighting back. The Better Than Zero campaign of the Scottish TUC has set up a helpline for precarious young workers, especially those on zero hours contracts in the fast food, entertainment and retail industries.

Workers can phone 0141 566 6875 for confidential advice.

Better Than Zero writes:

Apparently Stefan King, who runs the G1 Group which owns around 45 of the most popular and trendy premises across the whole of Scotland, can’t afford to pay for his workers’ uniforms (which he has decreed they should wear) or training (which seems to have contributed to the company being awarded the Gold Status Investors In People Award).

The G1 Group, with a turnover of over £60million across 45 of the owned and operated venues, apparently can’t pay the extra £45,124 to their low wage staff which would have ensured they were all on at least minimum wage.

But this new revelation is perhaps the most shocking. With a lot of young people both working and drinking in G1’s establishments, it is YOUR money which G1 are using to bolster their profits.  For 2013-14, the Group’s pre-tax profits were £11.21m. In the same year, Stefan King appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List with a personal fortune estimated to be £54million.

That’s a lot of uniforms and training he could be investing in.

And speaking of training, we forgot to mention one more controversy G1 were involved with. The Group was recently removed from a government training scheme after the funder, Skills Development Scotland, found that nearly half a million pounds had been incorrectly claimed for.

Although the firm repaid the money, which was provided from the Scottish Government to develop workers’ skills,  G1 was immediately suspended from the scheme.

G1 admits on their website that “one thing all our units have in common is our people – they work hard.” And they go on to boast that “investment in our people is the single most important contribution we make to our community.”  Well perhaps G1 could do with some training themselves. The best way to “develop” and “invest” in workers is to pay them an appropriate wage!

But, with G1 owning so many pubs and clubs across Scotland, especially in Glasgow, I guess we’ll see you on Ashton Lane…

For more info: go to out TAKE ACTION page to be kept informed of the >ZERO stunts coming up…….


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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