A Mugg & Bean franchise has fired three staff members, believed to be immigrants, for failing to provide documents for their employment, the company has said.
This after the franchiser completed its investigations into two restaurants accused in The Citizen’s report of illicit labour practices.
A further two employees at the same restaurant apparently quit as a result of the company’s intervention at the restaurant.
The restaurant chain was embarking on a countrywide labour audit after complaints heard by The Citizen from at least six of their restaurants in Johannesburg suggested that staff members were being forced to pay a breakage fee of up to R25 a day despite their only income being a 3% commission and tips.
Without a basic salary, this meant that most of these waitrons did not earn a minimum wage.
Some restaurants allegedly made waitrons contribute a part of their income towards paying casual staff such as runners.
According to Mugg & Bean operations executive Jeanne Geldenhuys, one of the restaurants they investigated has since “worked with the department of labour to ensure compliance, while the other restaurant ended up firing three of its staff”.
At the second restaurant in question, three staff members were found to not have the legal documentation required for their permanent employment, said Geldenhuys.
“These three are unfortunately no longer employable in terms of legislation.”
In an earlier statement yesterday, Geldenhuys explained that although the legal obligation to ensure labour legislation was upheld remained with the franchisees as the employer, their endeavour to deal with the matter was because the “wellbeing of Mugg & Bean staff is of the utmost importance to us and we take this exceptionally seriously”.
“Mugg & Bean requires franchisees to comply with SA labour legislation at all times. In cases where there are breaches of labour law, we are committed to taking strict action within the rights of our franchise agreement.”
The results of their labour audit were expected to be finalised in the next two weeks, she said.
“At the same restaurant, 12 team members on a commission base salary were found to not be fully compliant with the current minimum wage requirements.
“This has been addressed, and these team members have now been re-issued employment contracts ensuring that they earn the minimum wage. These contracts have been reviewed and approved by the department of labour.
“Five other affected commission earners were made casual workers following due labour process. Two of the five have unfortunately opted to resign.”
This week, trade union federation Cosatu’s parliamentary officer Matthew Parks said the organisation would rally its affiliate Saccawu to march to one of the restaurants.
The federation was taking legal action against Mugg & Bean to force them to comply with labour legislation.