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Santa’s grotto elves left unpaid for Christmas work

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Thousands of children visit Christmas grottos each year

Santa’s grotto workers around the country have complained they have not been paid for their Christmas work.

Several performers said they were still owed money by Grotto Hire UK, owned by Hull-based Agility Events.

Grotto Hire UK blamed a decline in sales and footfall for the company’s “cash-flow problems”.

Director Tony Jennings said the company was “extremely grateful” to employees and the issue would be resolved as soon as possible.

Shopping centres around the country contribute to the set-up, with Grotto Hire UK responsible for running the grottos and dealing with ticket sales.

Student Nathan Major, who worked in Hull’s Princes Quay over Christmas, said staff were owed thousands.

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Workers were due to be paid on 10 January but found out in an email that payment would be delayed “due to non-payment by the shopping centres”, he said.

Agility no longer has a website or Facebook page, but Mr Jennings has issued a statement to say Princes Quay is not to blame for late payments.

Anna, another Hull worker who is usually a stay-at-home mum, said she was owed more than £1,000 for work in November and December.

She said working at Christmas had had a big impact on her two small children, who missed her “terribly”.

Mr Major said it was “incredibly unfair” that staff who worked so hard over Christmas are still waiting to be paid.

Philip McLellan, who worked at Gloucester Quays’ grotto, said he was owed £2,000, while other staff said they were not paid until the summer for work they did in Christmas 2017.

Mr Jennings, who owns Agility Events in Hull, said: “Our staff have done an outstanding job over the Christmas period and we’re extremely grateful to them.

“It’s with deep regret that we have faced cash-flow issues that have impacted on them.”

Princes Quay said it was working with Grotto Hire UK to ensure the issue was being “addressed and resolved as a matter of urgency”.

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