Ramsay tried to force older staff to quit, hears tribunal

07 March 2003 by
Ramsay tried to force older staff to quit, hears tribunal

The former maitre d' at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in London's Connaught hotel this week claimed he was sacked in a campaign to force out older senior staff after the celebrity chef took over the running of the restaurant.

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Maitre d'hotel Salah Saber, 53, who had worked at the restaurant since 1998, claimed he was set up by management and accused of drinking on duty so he could be fired.

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Ramsay: out with the old?
New management tried to force senior staff members to sign new contracts for a longer working week and new shift patterns after Ramsay starting running the Mayfair restaurant last March, said Saber. Â He told the Central Employment Tribunal in London: "Gordon Ramsay leased the restaurant at the Connaught from the Savoy Group from March 28 2002 onwards and they gave me and other staff new terms and conditions of employment. Â "I believe that the company set about a campaign of getting the existing older members of staff to leave their jobs and then replace them with younger people." Â The tribunal heard matters came to a head in June 2002 when Saber was accused of drinking a large gin during his evening break. Â Saber admits that on the day he had been in the nearby Barley Mow pub, but said had not drunk alcohol himself. He said he bought a gin and tonic for a friend but he only drank tonic water. Â After returning to duty at 10.30pm, Saber said he was confronted by relief manager Michael West, who accused him of breaching the company's zero-tolerance drink rules. Â He told the hearing: "I never drank alcohol during my breaks. It is to do with professionalism nothing to do with employee handbooks or rules. It was a regime like the Army. You were a proud man to work at the Connaught." Â Saber is claiming unfair dismissal. The restaurant denies any wrongdoing. Â A verdict is not expected for at least six weeks.
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