By Scott Wright

THE company which cleans the famous Barrowlands music venue and some of Glasgow’s most popular bars fears Boris Johnson’s controversial post-Brexit immigration plans will trigger a staff recruitment crisis.

Beth Morton established Garcia Cleaning in 2012. Originally from the Philippines, she had come to live in Scotland with her husband Robin, a licensing solicitor and former music manager who now specialises in training bar staff, in September 2008.

Mr Morton had been a long-term shareholder in Brel, the popular bar and restaurant on Ashton Lane, but sold his stake after the financial crash of 2008 and 2009.

Shortly after, Ms Morton took a cleaning job in the Sainsbury’s store in Partick. Blessed with an entrepreneurial streak she developed while working previously in sales, she decided to set up her own cleaning business four years later. Since then the growth of the business has been steady, and Ms Morton credits her loyal and hard-working team for much of its success.

With around 80 per cent of her 20-strong team deriving from the European Union (EU), and the balance coming from the Far East, the business is heavily dependent on a migrant workforce.

However, the Westminster proposal to introduce a points-based immigration system after the country completes its departure from the EU, effectively ending free movement between the UK and the bloc, has left her extremely worried.

While her staff who are originally from EU nations have been applying for settled status, Ms Morton says it will be more difficult to recruit workers in the future.

Ms Morton’s concerns come after Johnson’s immigration plans were met with widespread anger across the Scottish business community when they were unveiled last month. The Scottish Tourism Alliance warned the move would “cripple” an industry which has come to depend on migrant workers from the EU, with similar sentiment expressed by the engineering, farming, care and retail sectors.

Like other opponents, Ms Morton is angered by the suggestion from the Government that businesses have relied on “cheap labour” and “low-skilled” migrant workers from the EU.

Ms Morton said: “We will have to depend on a diminishing pool of people… a lot of EU people are leaving because they feel persecuted.”

Ms Morton’s firm has a number of long-standing clients in Glasgow, including the Barrowlands. A typical shift sees Ms Morton and colleagues arrive at the venue in the early hours of the morning after concerts take place, working between the hours of 4am and 6am to ensure it is ready to welcome the next audience of music fans.

Garcia’s other clients include Brel and Sloans in the city centre, and last summer had the contract to provide services to the Riverside Festival, which takes place in the grounds of Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and attracts 7,000 people.

Supporters of tighter immigration, which was a key selling point for Brexit supporters ahead of the 2016 referendum, argue that UK businesses should focus more on hiring local people for positions. But Ms Morton said her efforts to do so have not been successful. She recalls hiring some Scots following a recruitment drive for staff on Gumtree three years ago, but they left within a short period of time.

Many of her team, however, like the flexibility of the hours, with many fitting shifts in around their studies or other jobs. Ms Morton, who does shifts herself, said: “I am proud of what I do.”

Meanwhile, the company has been taking steps to help its clients in the licensed trade combat the threat of coronavirus.

Garcia has been holding discussions with a major anti-contamination specialist with a view to offering clients a one-off deep clean of their premises. It is also providing clients with advice on incorporating anti-coronavirus measures into their day-to-day cleaning regimes, including on how to stop the virus spreading on items such as door handles, rails and menus.

Outlets are being urged to provide their customers with wipes, hand sanitisers and tissue dispensers.