Socialist Worker

Overpriced burger chain Beach Blanket Babylon still won’t settle its bill

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2594

Unpaid workers protested last year

Unpaid workers protested last year

Bosses at the Beach Blanket Babylon (BBB) glorified burger chain have been up to their old tricks—not paying workers.

Staff at both the Shoreditch and Notting Hill sites in London have come forward to prove they have not been paid.

The firms that run the restaurants were hit with employment tribunal bills for unpaid wages totalling £29,000 between March and December last year. But they don’t seem to have changed their ways.

Rehan came to Socialist Worker with more evidence. An email chain between him and the Notting Hill site manager Timothy Danby show he was owed almost £850 in unpaid wages.

Danby emailed Rehan on 1 February to say £150 had been paid to his account. “We will aim to pay this amount weekly until your arrears have been cleared,” Danby said.

But further payments have not been forthcoming.

“I first emailed Tim from Notting Hill in April last year. I started again in January,” he told Socialist Worker.

Rehan was initially owed almost £1,000. BBB boss Josephine claimed some of this had been paid and a standing order set up to pay the rest. That appears to have been false.

Rehan showed Socialist Worker logs for dozens of calls he made to BBB which were not returned.

“On a daily and weekly basis, people would come to the restaurant asking for money,” one former Shoreditch site manager told the Ham&High newspaper in January.

Even customer reviews of the Shoreditch bar on review site TripAdvisor describe witnessing former workers come in and demand unpaid wages.

Former BBB boss Robert Newmark was banned from acting as a company director for five years in 2016. Rosslyn Hill Ltd, a company he used to run a BBB site, ran up an unpaid tax bill of over £1 million.

And his attacks on workers have not been limited to simply refusing pay. An employment tribunal age discrimination case against him awarded £10,000 to the claimant.

Spokespeople for BBB have claimed the firm has cleaned up its act.

“The restaurants’ performance in all areas has substantially improved since the change of ownership,” they said in a statement.

But Newmark’s son Rex is the current director of BBB (GB) LIMITED and Newmark senior is its sole

shareholder. He has been seen leaving the Notting Hill premises, which suggests he is taking an active role in running the bar.

The Notting Hill site hosted the Kensington Palace Christmas Party last year.

Royal scroungers Harry, William, Kate, Meghan and Philip were said to be in attendance at the bar where workers go unpaid.

It costs £6,500 a night to rent out the ballroom that they quaffed and gorged in.

There is more than enough money sloshing around for the firm to pay workers.

The agency contract rip-off

A new TUC union federation report has warned that firms are paying agency workers £1.50 an hour on average less than workers employed full time. In some cases the figure rises to £7.

The report found that 60 percent of agency workers—over 400,000 people—have been employed by the same firm for over a year.

It singles out BT, where 97 percent of call centre workers are employed on agency contracts.

The CWU union found that agency workers at BT can earn as much as £500 a month less than workers employed directly.

Argos warehouse staff employed by agencies are on £4.36 an hour less than workers doing the same job employed directly by the retail firm.

The report shows how younger workers are more likely to be employed on agency contracts.

Some 40 percent of agency workers working for the same company for over a year are 16-35.

Industries with particularly high concentrations of long term agency contracts include banking and finance, distribution, hotels and retail.

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