The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has urged one of London’s most exclusive membership clubs to ensure its kitchen staff are paid the London Living Wage and their conditions maintained as they are outsourced to another employer.
It claimed that kitchen porters at Mayfair’s 5 Hertford Street, which also houses exclusive nightclub Loulou’s, are paid £9 an hour, have a “poor” sick pay entitlement, and are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent them from talking to the press during and after employment.
The staff were recently outsourced to cleaning company ACT Clean. IWGB said workers feared this would result the conditions being eroded further and put them at risk of reduced pay and zero-hours contracts.
Henry Chango-Lopez, president of the IWGB, said: “It is unfair that the porters who allow billionaires to wine and dine in luxury and secrecy are left hung out to dry. The porters can see straight through 5 Hertford Street’s bribes and know that outsourcing will only lead to further exploitation. The restaurant needs to give justice to its workers and put them all under the same banner.”
Around 19 members of staff have threatened to go on strike if their pay is not increased to the London Living Wage of £10.55 an hour, which is set by the Living Wage Foundation.
According to payslips and contracts seen by the Times, the kitchen porters earn £8.65 an hour, work up to a 48-hour week, receive a 20-minute unpaid lunch break and are not paid for overtime.
A spokesperson for ACT Clean told the Times that staff had been told they would stay on the same contracts when they transferred to the company. 5 Hertford Street club was not available for comment at the time of publication.
Earlier this year the High Court dismissed a case that saw the IWGB claim outsourced workers should be able to negotiate pay and conditions with the organisation they work for. If the claim had been successful, the cost benefit of outsourcing work to another supplier would have been reduced.