A steakhouse chain which was accused of “bullying” its furloughed workers into loaning the company money from their wages has repaid its staff and given them an extra 20 per cent back.
Tomahawk Steakhouse attracted criticism from trade unions and the public after it was revealed last month that staff had been asked to loan 10 per cent of their furloughed wages back to the company.
‘A thank you for supporting the business’
Some employees claimed that there were suggestions that anyone who didn’t agree to the loan might face redundancy - a claim disputed by Tomahawk Steakhouse.
A statement released by Tomahawk Steakhouse said: “As part of the voluntary agreement signed by all of our staff, we promised that any monies loaned would be returned as soon as we were financially able.
“Following the Budget announcement last week, we are delighted to have been able to swiftly honour that promise this week. All staff have now received the loaned amount, along with an additional 20%, as a thank you for supporting the business at this critical time.”
Following reports that staff had been pressured into agreeing to the loans, the company released a statement saying that all members of staff had signed up to the agreement, totalling around 500 people.
Tomahawk Steakhouse, which has restaurants in Yorkshire and the North East of England, plus one in London, said it needed the money to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.
‘A massive win for workers’
The coverage of the loan agreement prompted the Government to respond in Parliament, confirming that firms should provide the full amount of wages provided through the furlough scheme to workers.
Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “This was always an outrageous exploitation of both the furlough scheme and low paid, young workers.
“The cash should never have been taken in the first place as no employee can afford a further reduction in their take home pay - especially when it’s to cover their employer’s own obligations.
“Tomahawk’s behaviour was rightly condemned across the board. Their U-turn is a massive win for workers.
“Let’s hope this abuse of the furlough scheme is over and not repeated elsewhere.”