Craig Bancroft hits back after Michelin-starred Northcote is ‘named and shamed’ for underpaying staff

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th February 2017

In a recent press release from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lancashire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote were ‘named and shamed’ as one of more than 350 employers underpaying their staff with regards to the national minimum wage.

The ‘largest ever’ list also included stores from big names Debenhams and Age Concern, and comes following the ‘National Living Wage’ introduced by the government last April for those aged 25 and over. HMRC issued penalties worth around £800,000 to employers on the list.

The list named hospitality as one of the worst offenders. Northcote were reported on the list to have underpaid a total of £6,621.82 to 22 workers. (Source: Gov UK). In an interview with Insider Media, Managing Director Craig Bancroft hit back at the accusations: "I agree with the practice of minimum wage abuse being named and shamed. But breaching minimum wage is making a man work for 100 hours and paying them for 40 or whatever you might be doing.

"We had a couple of instances, which was wrong on our part, where we missed somebody's birthday on the anniversary of their movement from an 18- to a 21-year-old band or a 25-year-old band. For which we hold our hands up and we've dealt with." He also said that they have now had to cease certain ‘good’ practices as a result of the incident, including the payment of apprenticeships during their induction and salary advances, as they would have to be paid back.

>>> Related: Michel Roux Jnr announces plans to go 'service included' at Michelin-starred Le Gavroche

The ‘naming and shaming’ of such a high profile hospitality business is reminiscent of the pay investigation at Le Gavroche last year, where chef owner Michel Roux Jr publicly apologised for underpaying some of his staff. Reportedly, some chefs at the Mayfair restaurant were being paid rates as low as £5.50 an hour when the legal minimum wage is £7.20 (for workers aged 25 and over).

Michel Roux Jr announced that the missed pay was “not intentional” and it was reported in The Guardian that he was going to reimburse any chefs who were not paid the minimum wage - some were said to have received up to four-figure cheques around Christmas time.

Our followers fled to social media in response to the news about Le Gavroche, with many sharing their stories of pay discrepancies. Some however argued that gaining the invaluable experience of working at such a renowned establishment far outweighed the low wages.

Le Gavroche Michel Roux Jr pays staff below national minimum wage

Le Gavroche Michel Roux Jr pays staff below national minimum wage

Le Gavroche Michel Roux Jr pays staff below national minimum wage

Le Gavroche Michel Roux Jr pays staff below national minimum wage

We want to hear your thoughts about the ‘naming and shaming’ of hospitality businesses with regards to pay. Have you worked anywhere for less than minimum wage?

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th February 2017

Craig Bancroft hits back after Michelin-starred Northcote is ‘named and shamed’ for underpaying staff