Music charity ordered to pay more than £30,000 to former employees

Charity

A defunct street orchestra charity has been told to pay more than £30,500 to its former employees after the organisation closed without warning, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Nevis Ensemble, which was based in Glasgow, aimed to remove barriers to accessing orchestral music by bringing performances to people across Scotland. 

The five-year-old charity regularly sent its 19 musicians to perform at care homes, prisons, schools, recovery groups and other public spaces.

But it closed its doors in January last year, with a statement from its trustees saying: “Following severe funding challenges, Nevis Ensemble is no longer able to deliver its activities.”

The charity’s fellows said they were promised an annual bursary of £11,000 paid in monthly £1,000 instalments in return for their work, which they did not receive in January after the charity’s closure.

They added that fellows were only given 24 hours of notice of the insolvency, leaving many of them without their primary source of income.

After the closure, the musicians launched an online fundraiser to help them return to employment, saying that many of them were “struggling with sudden financial hardship”. The fundraiser raised nearly £10,500, which was to be split evenly between the 19 people.

Glasgow Employment Tribunal has ruled that the charity owes 17 of its former employees a share of about £30,500, after the charity failed to respond to the claim.

Judge Maclean found that the Nevis Ensemble made an unauthorised deduction from the wages of the claimants, failed to pay their holiday entitlements and dismissed them in breach of contract in respect of notice.

Most of the claimants are owed £1,036 for 13 days of wages lost, with the highest sum being £1,952 for 24 and a half days of lost wages. 

All claimants are also owed £239 for breach of contract and £470 for lost holiday entitlement, the judge ruled.

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