On Tuesday morning, screenshots of a bizarre booking-confirmation email from Scott Taylor’s CBD pub The Butcher’s Arms, which opened in December last year, appeared on the Facebook page for WA Bartenders, a hospitality industry group.
“It’s only fair that you know certain information before you part with your hard earned cash,” began the email to customers. “Last Wednesday our staff walked out as we have not paid any of them for four weeks. We still owe former members of our team at least 2weeks (sic) worth of wages, which we have no intention to pay. We have not registered our employees with the ATO either. Which means we get to keep that money!!!”
The screenshots were initially posted around 7.45am. After attracting many comments, the screenshots were removed from Facebook by the original poster after The Butcher’s Arms management left a comment saying “that they were hacked by someone recently fired for being on drugs.” Talking to Broadsheet, the original poster said she received the screenshots from a friend’s mother who had forwarded it to her via Twitter.
The Butcher’s Arms continues to trade and owner Scott Taylor and manager Liam Jones deny that there was any staff walkout, that staff members are owed any wages or that the venue has neglected its obligations to the ATO.
“All our staff have been and will continue to be paid,” Jones tells Broadsheet. He has labelled the allegations “the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever come across”.
Taylor says he suspects the system was hacked by a disgruntled former employee who Taylor alleges was recently dismissed from a shift for being intoxicated. (The staff member in question was not paid for his time on that occasion). When Broadsheet spoke to Taylor on Tuesday morning he was in the middle of reviewing CCTV footage of the venue to try to identify the employee that sent the email.
The email system breach is an unwelcome surprise for the well-known operator who is still trying to rehabilitate his image after leaving some suppliers and landlords unpaid after his previous ventures, The Trustee and Beaufort Local, went into voluntary administration late last year.
The beleaguered hospitality figure and subject of both traditional and social media attention says he’s “getting a bit tired of being the bigger person in these kind of situations”.
“Just for once I’d like some attention paid to the work I did putting in a lot of effort to make sure that all of my staff at my previous venues were paid what was owed to them,” he says.
Since the Facebook post was uploaded, Broadsheet has learned that a former Butcher’s Arms employee is currently pursuing a claim against the venue with Fairwork Australia, seeking to recoup several weeks of unpaid wages. The former bar manager, who worked at the venue while it was being set up, claims to have been “unceremoniously replaced due to a (sic) unrelated life threatening injury resulting in a hospital stay in acute care” and “was never paid a cent for my term of employment”.
“I would just like to be paid for the work that I did for the company,” says the former employee, who wishes to remain anonymous because the matter is not yet resolved.
The employee in question also said that they were not, and did not know, “the person responsible for the booking confirmation message”.