Poor working practices revealed at Nando’s

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Staff at restaurant chain Nando’s have claimed they are forced to clock out early but don’t get paid for working overtime cleaning

BBC News reported there is a system that automatically clocks staff out unless managers override it, but workers claim that does not always happen.

"I would get my payslip on a Friday and find I'd have less money than expected because they didn't put in the hours on my closing shifts," a 22-year-old, who the BBC called Suzanne, said.

"There was a time where we'd run over and finished around 2:30am and the managers had already put it through the system and they wouldn't add on the extra hours."

A Nando's spokesperson told the BBC: "We wholeheartedly refute the accusation that we would ask or expect our employees to do unpaid work.

"Without exception, our policy across all our restaurants is to pay all of our employees for all the work they do, and we take this incredibly seriously.

"If human error ever does occur, it is rectified without delay."

BBC News spoke to five current and former members of Nando’s staff who, despite being broadly complimentary about the workplace, had some serious concerns.

This was down to alleged incidents of poor cleaning practices, with one person claiming the same mops used to clean the toilets were used in the kitchen. Most Nando’s branches don’t employ dedicated cleaners, so tasks such as cleaning cookers and toilets are left to kitchen and waiting staff.

Another person said they had handled chicken without gloves on.

Nando’s stated: “Cleaning is an integral part of restaurant work and is crucial to maintaining high standards of health and hygiene, which we take very seriously.

“Cleaning is an essential role for employees, and this is made clear to all job applicants… Any employee who is asked to clean is given full training.”

The chain uses a colour-coded system to separate cleaning equipment (a green mop in kitchens and a red mop for toilets), but whistleblowers reported this isn’t always adhered to.

A petition calling on Nando's to review its cleaning and pay policies was created on the campaigns website Organise, which told the BBC it is supported by 551 alleged employees. It has so far gained more than 3,700 signatures.

Jonathan Holden, partner and head of employment law at Forbes Solicitors, said: “Where employees are entitled to pay for overtime any failure to pay could amount to an unlawful deduction from wages, giving rise to the potential for claims.

“While the amount that can be claimed by employees is limited to two years’ unpaid overtime, where the amount of overtime is not a negligible amount of time and where employers have a large number of employees the potential financial burden could be considerable.”

Holden claimed failing to pay staff for overtime is a common problem, particularly in the retail, food and hospitality industries.

“As to whether employees have a right to paid overtime, or whether it is expected of employees as and when necessary as part of their role, depends on the particular terms of their employment contract,” he said.