ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Waiters urged to push back against common (but illegal) restaurant practices

A restaurant in Stellenbosch called Kraft Wheat & Hops has been accused of exploiting its staff through illegal practices.

A waiter at Kraft Wheat & Hops contacted Cape Talk and shared that waiters are being made to pay the restaurant’s bank fees.

Read: Restaurants can be held liable if they don't disclose food allergens on menus

In September, the restaurant management apparently announced that 3.5% would be deducted from the total of their bills paid by credit card.

The waiters are paid their tip amounts at the end of each shift and then 3.5% of total card-paid bills for the month is apparently deducted from their wages.

It seems the restaurant is passing on all its bank fees relating to card payments, to its waiters, making them bear that cost.

Also read: Patron-turned-friend raising cash to help Rondebosch waiter complete his studies

In addition, the waiters have R10 deducted from each shift to cover the washing of their aprons.

It's also alleged that the waiters are not being given their payslips.

It is illegal, albeit common practice, for restaurants to charge uniform fees or have additional deductions on wages or tips.

Read more: What you need to know when you find a foreign object in your food

Labour lawyer Michael Bagraim says the rights of waiters are protected in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Sectoral Determination 14 for the hospitality industry.

Bagraim says the law states that employers must proactively provide payslips to all staff whenever they are paid.

He encourages waiters to report illegal practices to the Labour Department so that an inspector can be sent to the restaurant.

A statement was released by the restaurant management, via employer representative LabCo, which Knowler read.

Restaurant management claims the 3.5% only applies to tips. Bagraim says this is still illegal.

The restaurant also says it will no longer charge R10 for apron fees.

Unfortunately, this is extremely common.

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

There's no confusion. You cannot do what this particular restaurant has done... It's right throughout the industry.

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act says you have to receive a payslip in writing.

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion during The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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