Wages at Hard Rock less than half minimum wage

22/07/2008 - 00:00
Reports from the BBC have found that The Hard Rock Café in London relies on tips from customers to lift earnings to the legal level of £5.52 an hour.

Staff at the eatery are getting paid £2.06 an hour – less than half the national minimum wage.

An unnamed waiter at Hard Rock explained how it is unfair on both the staff and the customers: "It's an abuse of customers – they are being isled in that they believe they are giving a tip when they are subsiding the actual wage."

"They are manipulating their employees and customers and playing one off against the other."

A spokesman for the group defended this reaction: "We are free to distribute the service charge as it sees fit…With addition of the service charge, staff in London can earn between £8 and £12 an hour, depending on the level of business."

The Department for Business is reviewing the rules which allow restaurants to include tips in the calculations for the minimum wage.

The Independent newspaper has also announced today that Wagamama restaurant chain has joined its campaign for fair distribution of tips, and that the group is also preparing to add a line to its bills explaining its tipping policy.

The newspaper is calling on the all restaurants to operate a fair, clear and transparent policy for distributing service charges and gratuities to their staff.

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