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Tomahawk: Stop scalping workers’ pay!

The Workers Party of Britain denounces the Tomahawk Steakhouse restaurant chain for trying to force its furloughed staff to lend the company 10% of their pay as an interest-free loan!

The staff, who have already lost 20% of their regular pay under the government’s job retention scheme, are now being asked by their bosses to sub the company to cover its pension and national insurance contributions – to be paid back “once the lockdown is eased sufficiently for the company to trade” … whenever that may be.

Tearing at the workers’ heartstrings, Tomahawk whines that it has a “short-term cash flow issue and it requires your help and support”. And any employee who fails to be moved by this plea is warned that failure to go along with the scam means their “suitability for the role will have to be reviewed” – ie, they will be sacked.

Workers report being told to “f**k off somewhere else if you don’t like it” during the zoom call where managers issued their command. This is tantamount to extorting money with menaces.

Tomahawk moans about its cash flow problem, yet it is no small business, boasting outlets in York, Middlesbrough, Beverley, Newcastle and Durham, and has recently opened another in London.

The GMB union is taking up the case and it is hoped that Tomahawk will be forced to abandon what is so clearly an abuse of the publicly funded furlough scheme as well as a vicious attack on workers’ pay.

Tomahawk’s staff are overwhelmingly young and on minimum wage (now cut to 80% via the furlough scheme). As one union organiser pointed out: “They have solved their cash flow problem by giving a cash flow problem to their staff.”

We need to be clear that the case of Tomahawk is merely the tip of an iceberg, with many big companies trying every trick in the book to play the furlough system and to make workers pay for a crisis not of their making.

Workers need to be prepared to collectively resist all such tricks, however much they are told that “we are all in it together”.

In doing so, they can count on our support.