BOSSES at a Glasgow cafe have refused to re-hire and furlough staff who had been told the company couldn’t access the government’s job retention scheme – even though other workers are now getting the help.

Almost all the floor staff, working on zero-hour contracts, at Singl-end in Garnethill were let go by their employer, the Monteleone Group, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the cafe to close in March.

They had been told the company wasn't in a position to use the job retention scheme.

When that position changed, they asked to be re-hired and furloughed, as government guidance allows, so they could get vital money to cover their bills.

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Monteleone, which also owns The Shed and The butterfly and the pig, turned down their request.

The company has confirmed other staff who weren't let go are being furloughed, claiming over 95 per cent of employees would access the scheme.

The Glasgow Times spoke to four of the ten workers who are missing out due to a decision described as "totally hypocritical".

They say after the cafe closed on March 19 they were told to either take unpaid leave or ask for their P45 and try to get Universal Credit.

When the government announced its scheme, they asked to be put on leave to wait for the furlough money.

However, the company said, as the scheme required businesses to reclaim wages at a later date, it was "not in a position to grant furlough at this stage as the company would be insolvent".

The floor staff were unwilling to agree to take unpaid leave or their P45s and asked to see their contracts.

Instead, they were told on March 25 they were being let go and would be paid their due hours, notice and any accrued holidays. They didn't receive a copy of their contract until almost two weeks later.

One worker said they thought the furlough scheme was "the answer to our prayers". "For them to fire us all and say sorry there's nothing we can do is absolutely disgraceful."

They were told the company's lawyers had confirmed the furlough scheme is an option for employers, not a right for employees, when they asked to be re-hired.

READ MORE: Mum-of-three 'struggling to put food on the table' as travel firm refuses to help her access furlough scheme

Another worker said: "They really just wanted rid of their unskilled staff, they can pick up waitresses in a heartbeat.

"It's not on that you should work your guts out for a company and just be fired for asking to be furloughed. That's unacceptable."

Her colleague added: "They've left a bunch of people with no money at a really difficult time."

A student working in the cafe said she wasn't able to apply for Universal Credit and could struggle to cover her rent and food bills. "It's really affected our mental health," she added.

Monteleone's spokesman said: "Through these turbulent and worrying times for us all we would like to thank all the employees who have worked with us over this period.

"We are pleased to have successfully transitioned over 95 per cent of our staff from all departments including cleaners, glass collectors, floor staff, chefs, kitchen porters and managers whether they are part time or full time onto the government furlough scheme.

"We want to thank our staff for working with us to do this as government guidance has constantly evolved throughout this uncertain period.

"Our goal here at Monteleone is to ensure as many staff as possible are with us whilst we weather this storm, until we are allowed to reopen."