Restaurant workers at Harrods department store are to be balloted over strike action in response to what have been described as "abhorrent" working conditions.
The United Voices of the World (UVW) union, which is not recognised by the Knightsbridge store, has called for employees to be paid a minimum of £12 an hour, the reinstating of a commission policy, increased service charge transparency and a food allowance of one meal and drink for each shift that exceeds six hours.
In a statement released by the UVW a Harrods worker, Mihaly, said colleagues are leaving and not being replaced, increasing the workload for remaining staff.
Mihaly said: "The wage I'm getting can't cover my outgoings. We work in hospitality but we have to bring our food, or we have to pay for food in Harrods. It's slightly ironic that the department store with the most famous food hall in the world, their workers can't afford to pay for food."
Petros Elia, general secretary for UVW, added: "Our members work in the most famous luxury department store in the world, and yet they are paid poverty wages whilst generating millions of pounds in profit for their bosses - the richest family in the world. Our members are not willing to tolerate this abhorrent state of affairs any longer."
The union, which is said to represent a small number of Harrods workers, has said the strike would take place over Christmas, if approved by its members.
The department store said: "Alongside the wider hospitality industry, Harrods has faced an extremely difficult 18 months, with long periods of closure that have entirely removed our ability to operate as normal. However, throughout this, our absolute priority has been the welfare of our staff and safeguarding as many jobs as possible.
"We are constantly reviewing our pay policies to ensure they are in line with industry best practice and as well as base salary, Harrods employees receive generous overtime, 100% service charge (minus a minor admin fee) and benefits package.
"Our restaurant colleagues have regular opportunities to share feedback and raise concerns. We are confident, through our strong relationship with our employees, that any concerns they may have can be addressed without the need for a third party."
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