Goodarz, manager, director, and all round dickhead at Cafe Amore has a long history of mistreating staff that that has only just started to be uncovered (Is your waiter fair trade and ethically sourced?). Workers have told us he constantly hires new ‘trainees’ who he keeps on for a few weeks before sacking without any pay. Those that do stick around are often forced to work overtime for no pay, get cut short when they are handed their wages (always in cash), and end up on the receiving end of aggressive behavior, especially if they are women). It appears many aren’t even paid minimum wage!
Bonny, a staff member who’d had enough, quit work only to have Goodarz shout down and attempt to grab her mobile when she was making a call on her break. After Goodarz refused to pay some of her wages she got in touch with the IWW & Solnet. Two IWW reps accompanied her to a meeting with Goodarz and presented a letter demanding the money she was owed, £230.73 in all. He was given a week and told there would be a campaign of protests if Bonny wasn’t paid in full. Some of the money was given over, but not all, so together we followed through on our promise!
Another fellow worker, Rhyannan, had a similarly negative experience of Amore and is still owed £182. She gave Goodarz every opportunity to be civil and hand over the money, even attempting a reconciliation process through ACAS. Instead he refused to engage with the process, and was repeatedly aggressive (hear for yourself, this is his reaction to Rhyannan telling customers he was refusing to pay her wages). Rhyannan has had enough and she joined Bonny to protest outside Amore.
At the start of the lunch rush 18 supporters gathered at the cafe, raising banners and leafleting customers and passers by. Our numbers soon increased to 30 and spread across both sides of the street, meanwhile the numbers of customers inside dropped off significantly. They were likely driven away by their disgust at the cafe’s business practices – or our out of tune chants! All 300 leaflets we printed were snapped up, and nearly everyone we spoke to was supportive (even those that put up with our singing). It was heart warming to hear people say they weren’t going in because they refused to ever cross a picket line. Goodarz was given a final chance to pay up but he refused. An IWW member, who was handing out leaflets, was grabbed and threaned, a rather hostile reaction for a place called Amore!
This was just the start if Goodarz doesn’t start treating his former and current staff with respect, and Bonny and Rhyannan don’t get every penny they are owed. We’ll be targeting his Cafe every week until this happens. We know this isn’t the only cafe to mistreat it’s staff, if you are facing similar issues and want help standing up to your boss get in touch!
Watch this space and spread the word (Twitter). If the wages aren’t paid this week we’ll be back outside Cafe Amore 12noon next Saturday (21st November).