Anger as gig staff go unpaid following Green Day cancellation

Politicians have hit out after it was revealed agency staff hired to work at an outdoor Green Day concert in Glasgow would go unpaid - despite the event being cancelled just minutes before doors were due to open on Tuesday.

The American rock band Green Day were due to perform in Glasgow on Tuesday. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
The American rock band Green Day were due to perform in Glasgow on Tuesday. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Around 200 casuals were contracted by agency Onpoint+ to work a 12 hour shift for the show at Bellahouston Park.

Promoters PCL initially blamed ‘adverse weather’ for the cancellation, but a later statement from the band denied this - claiming they “didn’t care if it was raining f******g sideways”.

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Four bars were due to be in operation, with the staff being paid minimum wage to undergo training from 11am this morning, with the bars closing after the concert finished at 11pm.

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But they were sent home empty handed after the abrupt cancellation - with some workers claiming to be stranded without transport as they had arranged to be picked up after the concert finished.

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer said: “The disruption to fans is bad enough but to hear reports of people who had agreed to work at the gig being denied payment through no fault of their own is just completely unacceptable.

“The ‘gig economy’ of zero-hours contracts, insecure work, low-pay and poor conditions needs to end or exploitation will continue.

“A last-minute cancellation raises many questions for the promoters and for Glasgow City Council as hosts. Green councillors will be looking for answers so Glasgow avoids a repeat of this kind of chaos.”

Chris Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, has written to Paul Cardow of PCL Concerts to demand answers regarding the cancellation.

He challenged the company on their claims that the weather was to blame, asking whether they will compensate staff due to work and those who have travelled, and asking them to respond to claims that preparation in the local area was ‘patchy’.

Jennifer Jones was one of those due to work at the concert.

She tweeted a video that appeared to show Onpoint+ director of operations, Thom O’Donnell, confirming that staff wouldn’t be paid on June 21, when their wages for the day’s shift were due.

Jones told the Scotsman that she normally works with more established agencies, but saw this opportunity on a Facebook group for bar staff in the Glasgow area to find casual work.

She said: “When we arrived we were ushered in to the Palace of Art for ‘training’ but the whole thing was pretty shambolic – our training amounted to someone reading off his iPhone.

“We waited an hour after the training, before someone came back in and basically shuffled us out of the building.

“Then we were told by the man I assume was the boss at Onpoint+, that because there would be insurance claims relating to the cancellation, we would be at the bottom of the list to be paid.

“People had arranged transport and were virtually stranded, some of them were as young as 18, I had to give someone £10 to get home to Ayrshire as he had arranged a lift home after the concert.”

Some took the shoddy treatment of the bar staff as a sign of wider malaise in the so-called ‘Gig Economy’.

BetterThanZero, which campaigns against zero hours contracts, wrote on Facebook: “This is exactly the problem with zero hour contracts: something goes wrong and staff left without pay and stranded. PCL presents and OnPoint need to give us some answers now.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said, in a statement posted online, “The decision to cancel the Green Day event was taken by the promoters and management of the band, not Glasgow City Council.”