Restaurant chain asks staff for loans amid COVID crisis

Staff working for the Tomahawk Steakhouse chain have been asked to lend them 10% of their wages.

Restaurant chain asks staff for loans amid COVID crisis: The chain said it will aid them to get through the latest lockdown. To help them with cashflow staff are asked to pay for their own national insurance and pension plan. It amounts to a “voluntary loan” to the company. Tomahawk Steakhouse have 12 restaurants across the North East, Yorkshire and London.

In a letter they told 500 staff. “The company has a short-term cashflow issue and it now requires your help and support. We need to get reopened after the end of this lockdown.” Having previously supported staff by putting them on furlough and not making them redundant, the company said. “we now respectfully ask, in these difficult times, for you to support us”.

It estimates that staff would have to do this for three to four months. In the letter it states. “Once the lockdown is eased sufficiently for the company to trade, repayment of the loan will start to occur. And no further deductions will be made.” Regional secretary at the GMB, Neil Derrick, said it was an “outrageous abuse of the government’s furlough scheme”.

He went on to say. “It’s never been easier for businesses to access cheap money. “Yet Tomahawk is bullying its own young, low-paid staff to raise interest-free cash.

Tomahawk needs to take a long hard look at its behaviour. And this legal loophole must be closed before other companies follow suit”.

Earlier, The founder of the company, Howard Eggleston, said “We have 500-odd staff and we have had 100% take-up on the offer to try to help the company through. It is a voluntary agreement, the word loan stipulates what it is, we will pay it all back. It gets us through a massive hump where we are struggling to keep going.

To be honest, I was trying to keep everyone in a job. The easier option would not have been to do that and I decided that was the absolute wrong thing to do. At the end of the day, I did what I thought was right at the time to keep everyone getting money and not being stuck with nothing.”

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