A strike of restaurant workers at London department store Harrods has been averted after staff were given a pay rise of almost 25%.
Harrods has committed to increasing rates to £11.50 per hour, with chefs earning upwards of £12.50, above the London Living Wage of £11.05.
For restaurant workers this pay rise will mean almost £5,000 more a year, and for some it will be up to 25% more than they got paid before. Harrods has also guaranteed annual increases of 3% from 2023 – however it rejected the rise was due to the threat of strike action.
Harrods restaurant worker and United Voices of the World (UVW) member Mihaly said: "After weeks of organising with our union UVW, we are delighted that our bosses engaged with us and recognised our hard work. We will be getting the pay rise we have fought for and that we deserve – good news for us and workers beyond."
A statement from the department store said: "At Harrods, we are consistently reviewing our pay policies to ensure we continue to attract and retain the best talent. It has been an extremely difficult 18 months for the restaurant industry, throughout which our number one priority has been the wellbeing and welfare of our colleagues. For the last three months, we have been undertaking reviews to ensure that our restaurant colleagues' salaries are in line with industry benchmarks, on top of receiving a generous overtime and benefits package, as well as 100% service charge (minus a minor admin fee).
"Following this internal review, we are very pleased to have introduced salary uplifts across the majority of our restaurants division, ensuring all our restaurant colleagues are receiving highly competitive salaries against industry benchmarks. This has been entirely driven by ongoing discussions and work internally with our restaurant colleagues, and at no point during this three month process have we engaged with a third party. Any suggestion to the contrary is wholly inaccurate."
The United Voices of the World (UVW) union, which is not recognised by the Knightsbridge store owned by the Qatari royal family, called for employees to be paid a minimum of £12 an hour, the reinstating of a commission policy, increased service charge transparency and a food allowance of one meal and drink for each shift that exceeds six hours.
The union, which is said to represent a small number of Harrods workers, announced it would be balloting workers over strike action last month and that the strike would take place over Christmas, if approved by its members.
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