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Former Brewdog employees claim staff aren’t treated like human beings

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A group of ex-employees from craft beer brewing company Brewdog have started a campaign to bring to light their negative experiences working for the brand.

The Punks with Purpose campaign posted an open letter on Twitter on 9 June and have attracted a significant amount of support from past and current employees, as well as other Twitter users.  

The letter stated Brewdog has spent years claiming it wanted to be the best employer in the world, to help recruit top talent, but the reality was much different.

It said: “Being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog.

Employees feel belittled and/or pressured into working beyond their capacity, and have often been forced out of the business”

The former employees argued by placing personalities at the centre of the businesses marketing, egos were inflated and a culture that gave weight to sexist and misogynistic brewers who claimed to be standing up for free speech was fostered.

“You have become a lightning rod for some of the worst attitudes present on both the internet, and in real life,” the letter accused.

Speaking to HR magazine, a former Brewdog employee and member of the Punks with a Purpose campaign said whilst there were many positives to working there, the overall experience was not a pleasant one.

They said: "[I experienced] long hours on minimum wage, uncertainty and low staff engagement, experiencing burnout and staff without clear leadership was also common.

"It [working at Brewdog] was nothing like it was portrayed on social media, the image that the public see is an idealised utopia of beer."

The campaign group member said the reality of working for the business is far removed from how they imagined and experienced an unpleasant and combative workplace.

The spokesperson claimed the toxic environment Brewdog created has been allowed to go unchallenged for years.

"People shouldn’t be allowed to act with impunity at work. Work should not be all encompassing, and with a brand like Brewdog that engages its fanbase so well, it is crucial to expose abuses to prevent others coming to harm," they said. 

The trade union representing the former Brewdog employees, London IWW Union, told HR magazine: “We support these workers who have come forward so far.

“We admire their strength, and we'll continue to support brewery and hospitality workers.”

BrewDog’s co-founder, James Watt, said their people are their main priority and the open letter has troubled them.

He told HR magazine: “Our focus now is not on contradicting or contesting the details of that letter, but to listen, learn and act.

“At BrewDog we are focussed on building the best business we can, we have always tried to do the best by our team, and we do have many thousands of employees with positive stories to tell as a result.”

Watt said the open letter penned by former employees and supported by current ones, proves that on many occasions they haven’t got it right.

“We are committed to doing better, not just as a reaction to this, but always; and we are going to reach out to our entire team past and present to learn more.

“But most of all, right now, we are sorry,” he said.