Staff ‘sacked by text’ and told they won’t get wages

The Duk-Pond

The Duk-Pond

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Angry staff thrown out of work by the shock closure of one of Preston’s top restaurants have claimed some were sacked by text.

Up to 20 employees of Duk-Pond in Cross Street say they were given no notice of the immediate shutdown this week and have since been told they won’t get paid the wages they are owed.

“We were all stunned when we were told it was closing,” said one of the staff. “But that shock has now turned to anger because we’ve been told the business can’t even afford to pay what they owe us.

“Some of the staff have young families and mortgages. We don’t know how we are going to pay our bills. A few were told face to face, but others were informed by text. It’s disgusting.”

Owner Andrea Mellon blamed a fall in trade caused by continuing traffic jams in the city centre for the closure. She told the Evening Post: “It was a difficult and distressing decision, but one I had to take.”

Duk-Pond, which first opened in Lancaster Road 10 years ago, won numerous awards and was highly respected amongst diners.

But staff say that, while they were aware of financial problems, they never expected the restaurant to shut down.

Another said: “It’s not so much the closure as the way it’s been done, telling loyal staff by text and not paying wages that we are owed. We were paid weekly and some worked as many as 60 hours last week - for nothing.”

A third said: “There are functions booked over the coming months, including weddings. What are those people going to do? We are all trying to support each other at the moment, but we aren’t confident we will get our money.”

Andrea Mellon was unavailable for further comment.