Protesters urge Pizza Hut to give staff a fair slice of cash

Rise protesters outside the Pizza Hut in St John's Road. Picture: Scott Louden

Rise protesters outside the Pizza Hut in St John's Road. Picture: Scott Louden

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DEMONSTRATORS have staged a protest outside Pizza Hut in Corstorphine over the firm’s failure to pay the statutory minimum wage to some of its staff.

The takeaway in St John’s Road was officially “named and shamed” by the UK government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) last week.

It said Pizza Hut had failed to pay 13 employees at the Corstorphine branch the legal minimum rate of £6.70 an hour, underpaying them by £309.02.

Last night members of left-wing alliance Rise (Respect, Independence, Socialism and Environmentalism) gathered outside the restaurant with placards, including one which read: “We make the pizzas but the bosses steal ‘our dough’.”

But the company insisted its policy was to pay the minimum wage and the shortfall highlighted by BIS was a “misunderstanding” which had now been resolved.

BIS issued a list of 92 employers in the UK who had failed to pay workers the minimum wage. Altogether they owed a total of £1,873,712.

In a letter addressed to the manager, Rise spokesman Calum Martin explained the group campaigned for a minimum wage of £10 an hour for all employees.

“This is the least an employee must earn according to the UK government in order to pay their own way and not rely on state ‘top-up’ benefits to cover their rent, meet their household bills or feed their children,” he explained.

“Tens of thousands of Edinburgh residents signed our petition over the past few months supporting the immediate statutory introduction of this rate.”

Mr Martin said Rise had been disappointed to read in the News that 13 members of staff were not even paid the national minimum wage of £6.70 an hour to which they were statutorily entitled.

He said: “Finding a ­profitable company like Pizza Hut breaching its responsibilities in this way has prompted us to protest outside your restaurant to draw attention to a situation we find quite unacceptable.

“We agree with UK Business Minister Nick Boles MP, on this occasion at least, when he rightly insists ‘There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they are entitled to’.

“We hope you can give us an assurance that this breach of UK employment law has now been rectified and will not be repeated.

“And we would like to know what plans Pizza Hut has to increase the wages it pays its staff as it currently falls so far short of the £10-an-hour living wage people need to survive in this city.”

A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut said: “We take the welfare of our team members extremely seriously and we pay all our team members at least the minimum wage.

“This was an isolated incident in 2014 that was the result of a misunderstanding.

“It was quickly resolved with the team members in question, to the satisfaction of HMRC.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com