Holiday dispute sparks Buxton bar protest

Sam Frohwein, third from left, protesting outside the Old Courthouse, Buxton, with representatives from his union, IWW.
Sam Frohwein, third from left, protesting outside the Old Courthouse, Buxton, with representatives from his union, IWW.

A Buxton barman who believes he was unfairly dismissed has been picketing outside his former work, asking prospective customers to boycott the business.

Sam Frohwein, a former duty manager at the Old Courthouse Wine and Coffee Bar, on George Street, said he was fired for requesting holiday pay for staff.

The 24-year-old, of Burbage, told The Advertiser that the day after submitting a grievance letter to his employer Julian Probets, his hours were reduced from 30 to zero.

He said: “I have been effectively dismissed from work and lost my income as a result off insisting that basic employment obligations are met. If we don’t stand up to this sort of exploitative treatment it sets a precedent for further exploitation of an often under informed and under protected workforce in the hospitality industry.”

The last two Saturdays, Sam has been staging a demonstration, with the support of his union IWW, family and friends, and handing out flyers encouraging people to drink at other Buxton establishments.

Dave Pike, regional organiser of IWW, said: “It is clear to us that Sam is being discriminated against for demanding the legal entitlement of himself and his fellow workers. We will continue to support Sam and continue to put pressure on Mr Probets until we reach a conclusion that is sufficient for our member, and this will be done by whatever means are required.”

Mr Probets said: “As a responsible employer and local business it would be totally wrong for me to comment about matters concerning an employee.”

Sam faces a disciplinary hearing meeting at the bar today (Thursday) for damaging the Old Courthouse’s trade by picketing. IWW are preparing the case for an employment tribunal.