Tomahawk repays staff loans after being criticized
A YORK steakhouse whose owner controversially asked staff to loan the company out of their wages has now agreed to return the money.
Tomahawk Steakhouse has come under criticism from York Central MP Rachael Maskell and the GMB union after asking staff to sign a voluntary loan agreement to help cover the cost of the employer’s NIC / Pension amounts.
The steak specialty chain with restaurants in York, Beverley and Husthwaite, defended its actions at the time, saying the priority was to protect his team and business after a difficult year.
In a statement released today, a spokesperson for Tomahawk said: “As part of the voluntary agreement signed by all of our staff, we have promised that any money loaned will be returned as soon as we are financially able.
“Following the budget announcement last week, we are delighted to have been able to quickly deliver on this promise this week.
“All staff have now received the loan amount, along with an additional 20%, as a thank you for supporting the business at this critical time.”
The GMB union condemned the loan request as “abuse of the leave scheme” and said it should not be repeated elsewhere.
He said today’s confirmation that Tomahawk restaurants had started reimbursing “lower paid and leave workers” was a “massive victory for workers.”
Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “It has always been an outrageous exploitation of both the leave scheme and poorly paid young workers.
“The money should never have been taken in the first place because no employee can afford a further reduction in their take-home pay – especially when it comes to meeting their employer’s own obligations.”
He added: “Their U-turn is a massive victory for the workers. Hopefully this abuse of the leave scheme is over and not repeated elsewhere.”
Ms. Maskell praised the news.
“It was so good to hear. In response to my parliamentary question, the Treasury Minister confirmed that Tomahawk cannot use the vacation pay of his poorly paid staff to support his business.
“Their conduct has been disgraceful and I thank the GMB union for obtaining the right remedy for its members.
“It’s a very tough time for companies with the many holes in the layout, but it’s also tough for workers. We need to support each other during this time. I am always here to support workers and businesses throughout this season. ”
In response to his written parliamentary questions to the Treasury, questioning whether Tomahawk’s actions were legal or the government’s intention, Treasury Minister Jesse Norman MP, government finance secretary, replied: “Employers are required to pay staff for all coronavirus retention. The scheme (CJRS) they receive from HMRC covers 80 percent of salary up to £ 2,500 per month.
“The employer is still required to pay the employer’s national insurance and pension contributions.
“Employers cannot enter into any transaction with the worker that reduces wages below the amount claimed.
“This includes any administration costs, fees or other costs associated with the job. ”