EX-STAFF are furious that a pub which failed to pay them furlough has reopened with new employees.

The former bar manager of the popular Idle Hands pub in Queen’s Road, Brighton, said he, along with other staff, were sacked by the owners amid the coronavirus crisis.

Dwayne Wildeboer said workers were led to believe they were being put on the Government’s job retention scheme.

However, the company told The Argus its application to join the scheme had been unsuccessful “due to a technicality” and it had to make the “very regretful” decision to sack the staff.

Now, the pub has reopened with new staff and ex-workers, who say they “have been struggling to get by”, are launching a tribunal case against the employer.

Mr Wildeboer said: “I had no phone calls, people do not answer the phone and I was getting nothing, it seem like it was a bury-your-head technique.

“On March 22, we shut and nobody had any information for first few days – everyone was emailing me trying to find out what was going on.”

Staff claimed they were sent an email which said the company had “successfully requested the furlough payments that the Government will pay”.

Mr Wildeboer said: “There has been no sense of ownership. no apology, no sense of remorse, now they’re reopening and it’s the middle finger to the staff.

“We just want them to pay what is owed, nobody wants a dime more or less, just what we are owed.”

When contacted by The Argus, the company said it was “committed” to the city and the community.

A spokesman for Search Mayfair Hospitality Group, which owns the premises, said: “The technicality centres around the deadline for registering the company which paid the staff for the job retention scheme.

“The application for the job retention scheme was made on time but very unfortunately, the deadline for registering the company which paid the staff was not met and we were only told this later.

“This caused a massive problem, leading to the hugely upsetting and very regretful decision to have to let the staff go. We simply had no choice. The company is committed to Brighton and is looking forward to building a successful future here, creating as many new local jobs as possible, as the business grows again.”