Wed, 22/10/2008 - 23:36

A top London restaurant paid only £1.50 an hour to a kitchen porter.

Cesare Copeta, a member of the Solidarity Federation's South London local, was employed by The Food Room, owners of The French Table restaurant in Surrey and the Tom Ilic restaurant in Battersea, which is currently listed in Time Out's Top 50 London restaurants.

He was employed as a kitchen porter at the Tom Ilic restaurant and had applied for the job through an advertisement in the Department of Work and Pension's Jobcentre Plus database.

He worked 50 hours over a 2 week shift, but was then paid only £75. Having been paid only £1.50 per hour, he walked out of the job in disgust.

The South London local of Mr Copeta's union, Solidarity Federation, wrote to the employer to inform him of our member's legal entitlement to the National Minimum Wage, payment for wrongful dismissal and accrued holiday pay and organised a picket outside the restaurant. At the start of the picket, the employer agreed to pay the member his wages at a little over the rate set at the National Minimum Wage and has also paid the member's accrued holiday pay.

The South London local are continuing its actions to recoup our member's pay in lieu of a weeks notice for wrongful dismissal. Its secretary said "The catering industry is riddled with long hours, low pay and shady practices. This is a far cry from the glamorous world of celebrity chefs. We are determined to help workers do something about the conditions they face."