Soho Farmhouse has been accused of sacking up to 30 staff members via phone and WhatsApp video in the last fortnight during the coronavirus crisis.
Former employees have slammed the exclusive countryside resort near Chipping Norton after they were allegedly dismissed over ‘poor performance’.
All branches of the Soho House chain are closed due to the ongoing pandemic.
‘Poor performance is the reason the decision was made they said. I received no prior warning that I was performing badly’, one staff member who wished to remain anonymous told the Oxford Mail.
They added that the company employee around 530 people, and they had heard from colleagues that others had been fired on the same grounds.
Former employees of Soho Farmhouse have slammed the members club after they were allegedly dismissed over ‘poor performance’
It is claimed that around 30 team members of the exclusive countryside resort near Chipping Norton were unfairly dismissed in the last few weeks. Pictured: Wooden cabins at the private members’ retreat for £725-a-month
Another former employee said they were on a day off at home, and received a text asking them to answer the phone.
‘I rang them back and had a bad feeling about it. They called me up and I was fired over a WhatsApp video call,’ they claimed,
A senior staff member at one the club’s London houses told MailOnline it was a similar experience across the company, and she couldn’t understand why the company did not furlough staff instead.
‘I was let go on the phone at the end of March with no option of furlough after being a dedicated employee for two years, they told me they just needed to reduce head count but gave no indication whether they would be able to hire us again.
‘This has happened across many of Soho house’s sites. I have now been forced to claim universal credit to pay my rent as it is impossible to get rehired in the hospitality industry at this time.
‘I don’t know why they haven’t taken the government up on the offer of furlough’.
They added that the company employee around 530 people, and they had heard from colleagues that others had been fired on the same grounds
A senior staff member at one the club’s London houses said it was a similar experience across the company, and they couldn’t understand why the company did not furlough staff instead
A spokesperson for Soho House told MailOnline: ‘There isn’t a business in our industry that hasn’t been affected by Covid-19, but our absolute priority has been our team and to guarantee as many jobs as possible during this prolonged shutdown.
‘We took the decision to implement a small reduction in workforce in early March as part of a performance review process that was already underway, that undoubtably became more pressing in the current crisis.
‘Since then we have paid all of our 8,000 plus employees’ wages and continue to support them as some transition to government schemes.’
They added: ‘We have also provided a monetary grocery package for hourly staff and set up the Soho Impact Support Fund, using donations from our senior team who are all taking 40 per cent pay cuts which will be distributed as grants to any employees facing hardship.’
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex famously had her hen party at Soho Farmhouse ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018. Pictured: Millie Mackintosh (left) cycling with Meghan in Oxfordshire
Lady Mary Charteris, left, and Professor Green, right,, real name Stephen Manderson, are both fans of Soho Farmhouse where membership costs £1,360 a year
The Farmhouse is part of the Soho House club and hotel chain, which has 12 locations across the UK and several more throughout the world.
Babington House in Somerset and Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire are the only two outside of London.
Members of the exclusive club are known to include the David Beckham and wife Victoria, and is also a favourite among royals such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
And Meghan Markle also famously celebrated her hen party at the luxury spa, as it was recently reported that her and Prince Harry are looking at building a house nearby.
Princess Eugenie of York and Cressida Bonas, left, and models Suki and Immy Waterhouse and Georgia May Jagger, right, have stayed at the members-only club in Oxfordshire
The retreat opened in 2015 and comprises 40 cabins, a seven-bedroom farmhouse and a four-bedroom cottage.
Guests can use bicycles to travel between the dining venues, a 55-seat art deco-style cinema and a boating lake.
Membership costs £1,360 a year, and you must be nominated by a current member of the club for you application to go before a membership committee.
Last year, locals complained that their once peaceful lanes have become overrun with ‘noisy super cars’ and speeding SUVs belonging to ‘a specific type of person who is more upmarket’ attending the Farmhouse.
US billionaire Ron Burkle acquired 60 per cent of Soho House Group in 2012 for a reported £250 million
Locals say that their once peaceful lanes in Chipping Norton are now overrun with ‘noisy cars’