Too much unpaid overtime

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Dave Turnbull 2 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #618

    Snow leopard

    I’m paid a monthly contract, but I work so many hours it works out less than the minimum wage. What can I do?

  • #657

    Dave Turnbull

    My name’s Dave Turnbull, I’m a Regional Officer with responsibility for the hospitality sector within Unite the union. (

    In the hospitality industry there’s a real ‘work till you drop’ culture and this happens a lot: a lot of people are being paid on a monthly salary but working extra hours so in the end they’re earning less than the minimum wage per hour.

    For example, there was a case with Michel Roux, the chef at Le Gavroche in London.
    He put the chefs on a salary rather than an hourly rate and they ended up working 50-60 hours a week. When we sat down and actually work out what that means, they’d been underpaid the minimum wage.

    We think this is actually a huge can of worms and a lot of restaurants and hotels have adopted this as part of their business model. It can potentially really damage your health.

    But the Union can help.

    First you have to keep accurate information about your start and finish times.

    Then we sit down with you and work out the calculation.

    Then we talk to others to find more people this has happened to. When you have about five people, we draft a letter and get everyone affected to sign it.

    They then submit it to the employer at a meeting.

    You’ve got the legal right to have a union representative in attendance at that meeting even if your employer is anti-union or doesn’t recognise the union. They can’t stop you from bringing a union rep.

    That means from the outset we’re involved.

    And if you’ve done the calculation, you can be pretty confident that there’s won’t be any way out for the employer other than to pay. Which is why Michel Roux coughed up very quickly when it was exposed. There have been a few of these cases, including one Australian celebrity chef who’s been caught doing the same thing. He had to cough up. So it works.

    We don’t recommend anyone puts in a grievance individually. If you’re going to put in a grievance, we can’t guarantee you how your employers will react. So it’s best to join the union so we can support you, draft the letter and so on.

    If you think you have a pay issue contact

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  Dave Turnbull.

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