Popular Sheffield bar leaves staff 'in the dark' without furlough pay and says it may close

Staff at a popular bar in Sheffield city centre have yet to be placed on furlough – six weeks after the scheme was brought in to help hospitality businesses and workers – with the bar confirming it may have to close because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 15 and 20 workers at OHM Sheffield, based in the West One Plaza, have been left “in the dark” by management since the bar closed in March, according to one employee, with messages “completely ignored”.

They told The Star: “Since the lockdown started and the bar had to shut there’s been zero communication between the business and staff that work there. People owed pay haven’t been paid.

“The Government have put out a grant for people to get paid and live on a wage and they have done nothing about it and left everyone in the dark. How are you meant to survive if you are not getting the wages you are entitled to?”

OHM Sheffield.

The furlough scheme supports businesses hit by coronavirus by temporarily helping to pay the wages of employees who can't do their jobs. The money does not have to be repaid.

The employee said another 20 staff at SOYO on Rockingham Street, which is owned by the same person – Efekoro Omu – have been left without furlough pay, despite both businesses being eligible to apply.

They added: “I have been in touch with people across Sheffield in hospitality and they have had no issues.

“It’s unnecessary stress. I don’t think I should have to fight my employer to give me a wage, even if the Government is paying for it.”

A spokesperson for OHM Sheffield said the business is “following the government guidelines” on implementing the furlough scheme – but may have to shut permanently because of the “extensive closure” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

They said: “OHM Sheffield has always put the safety of the public and staff as its priority and as such the difficult decision was made to shut doors a few days before the government guidelines on Covid-19 were issued.

“At that point all staff wages were paid in full as per the staff signing in/out documents and time sheets. Any members of staff not signing in/out correctly would have not been able to restropectively complete the aforementioned documents due to quarantine guidelines that came into place in the ensuing days. Any hours missed for the above reason were subsequently sent to finance for payment on the next pay run.

“With respect to the Government Furlough Scheme, OHM is following the government guidelines on implementing the scheme. It is important to note OHM is not privy to the Retail, Hospitality,and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) due to its high rateable value and as such this extensive closure could result in the permanent closure of the business as it is still liable for its rent and other fixed costs.”