Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomondside. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Lucy Ashton

Cameron House Hotel has been accused of being “snooty” after its management announced that it has closed its fine dining restaurant, leaving a number of jobs at risk of redundancy. 

The hotel reopened in May 2021 following a refit and named its new flagship restaurant after leading Scottish chefs Paul Tamburrini and Martin Wishart.

The Unite union has said 12 staff are at risk of redundancy as they have yet to be offered alternative employment.

However, Cameron House, which was the scene of a major fire in which two young men died, said it expected to keep more than 60 per cent of the workforce.

The five-star hotel near Duck Bay reopened following restoration after the fire in 2017, which claimed the lives of Richard Dyson, 38, and his partner Simon Midgley, 32, from London.

A spokesperson for the hotel told BBC Scotland it had followed legal redundancy procedures for the closing of the restaurant.

However, Unite disputes this, claiming that workers were given less than a month’s notice of the closure, removed from the staff system and put on gardening leave.

It said workers were told not to come back on Monday – two weeks before the restaurant was supposed to close.

The union has previously criticised the hotel for distributing tips “unfairly” among staff.

Head chef Zach Brotherton said the restaurant was open as normal for a busy service.

He explained: “We were closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday as usual – but on Monday morning we’ve all had emails telling us we’re on gardening leave and the restaurant was closed.

“It’s quite obvious they had no real intention of keeping us on when they put us on gardening leave and kicked me out of my work emails and now none of us can access any of the systems.”

Unite’s lead hospitality organiser Bryan Simpson said hotel management had “refused to consider reasonable alternatives to redundancy” and “steamrolled ahead” with the closure.

He added: “This confirms to us that the company has no intention of considering any alternatives to avoid mass redundancy, in complete contradiction to well established employment law.”

The restaurant said it was holding meetings to find redeployment for staff within the hotel and said that some had already been offered new roles.

A spokesperson for Cameron House told a local newspaper: “We are confident that should the team wish to take up the roles offered, with no change to their existing terms and conditions, we have roles available.

“We expect more than 60 per cent of the team to be employed across the resort. We are meeting all legal obligations in respect of consultation times. The teams were informed on October 4 of our proposal to close from October 31.

“We have complied with all legal obligations and followed standard redundancy process.”

They added that staff IT access was suspended following a confidentiality breach.

Elsewhere, it was reported that Cameron House said the restaurants objective was to achieve a Michelin Star but that “all key objectives failed and the restaurant has made significant financial losses since opening”.

It stressed that support was being offered to the team.  A number of people however believe that Cameron House has been the author of its own misfortune.

Graham Miller told social media that the owners should change the restaurant management.  He said: “I remember there were queuing right down the upstairs corridor for lunch. The place was packed. But those young guys in charge now are pushing for profit, and have killed the golden goose that lays the golden egg!”
Darren Gemmell wrote: “I’m in the hotel now and the service is terrible.”
Jen Sims added: “I went to that restaurant many years ago, the food was amazing, the service was snooty so I never went back. I travelled to The Kitchin in Edinburgh many times instead of going there, and had brilliant service, with no snoot!”
Liz Harwood rounded off the criticism with this comment: “We live a mile down the road from there , and l have never been in it . It is very expensive , so l’m told , but its a shame for the staff who are being laid off .

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