Tomahawk Steakhouse Employees Said: “10% Loan Company or Pending Dismissal”
A restaurant chain in the northeast has asked employees on leave to lend out a fixed portion of their wages, or it has been alleged that they will be laid off.
Tomahawk Steakhouse, which is headquartered in Eaglescliffe and has restaurants in Darlington, Middlesbrough, Durham, Yarm and North Yorkshire, wrote to its employees asking them to sign an agreement to cover their pension and social security benefits with 10 percent of their salary each month to lend contributions, says the GMB Union.
A letter seen by the Northern Echo was sent to employees asking them for a “voluntary” loan.
But GMB has claimed that during a meeting on Zoom, employees were told to “go somewhere else if you don’t like it” and if they don’t sign up with the company, “see if you are suitable for your role”. ‘.
The Tomahawk Steakhouse has denied that staff were told that if they did not sign the agreement, they would be fired.
A spokesman said: “At no point has Tomahawk Steakhouse proposed that employees be laid off unless they sign a loan agreement.
“Like the rest of the hospitality industry, we have had a challenging year and our priority has been to protect our people and our business.
“During this and to survive the coming months, we asked our employees to sign a voluntary agreement that will help us cover the costs of the employer NIC / pension in the form of a loan. Every single employee has chosen to sign this agreement. ”
GMB regional secretary Neil Derrick said the union reached the company to try to stop the deal and had contacted HMRC.
He said, “We believe it’s technically legal. It is not against the text of the program, but we believe it is against the spirit of the job retention program.
“It is really a worker abuse. The company is pushing its cash flow problems onto people borrowing money from credit cards or banks, which the company should have done. ”
Mr Derrick said workers were charged between 10 and 16 percent of their wages.
He added: “This is an outrageous abuse of the vacation program and a loophole in the law that needs to be closed.
“Getting cheap money has never been easier for businesses, but Tomahawk harasses its own young, low-paid employees to raise interest-free money.
“This callous behavior means that waiters and waitresses, pot washers and cooks run out of cash and force them to take out interest-bearing loans to cover the shortage or lose their jobs.
“Tomahawk needs to take a close look at its behavior – and this loophole must be closed before other companies follow suit.”
The subject was raised in Parliament by York MP, Rachael Maskell, who wrote to the government on the subject.
She described the behavior as “morally reprehensible”: “Companies were provided with coronavirus loans that they could access.
“Tomahawk should find these loans, not search their employees’ wages.
“These are low-wage earners who can hardly afford to subsidize their employer.”