Michelin-starred TV chef Michel Roux is to give some staff ‘immediate pay rises’ following an investigation by the Guardian found that some staff at his Mayfair restaurant were being paid less than the minimum wage.
The famed chef has been paying some staff at Le Gavroche £5.50 an hour – well below the £7.20 national living wage introduced in April – according to chefs who have worked there.
Following the Guardian investigation, Le Gavroche admitted the restaurant had paid some staff less than the national living wage and that there would be immediate pay rises for affected workers and reductions in hours for all staff.
The Guardian spoke to a handful of chefs employed by former MasterChef judge Roux at some point and found that they routinely worked between 62 and 68 hours a week for about £375 before tax. The legal weekly minimum for anyone aged over 24 for such hours should be between £446 and £490.
In response, Le Gavroche released a statement to say it had “recently undertaken one of its regular salary reviews, which revealed that a few staff were working longer hours than anticipated and the restaurant is increasing salaries for those staff with immediate effect to ensure that the entire staff is now earning the minimum wage or more for their age.”
“Michel Roux Jr has stated that it is his continued stance to reduce the number of hours that front of house, chefs and kitchen staff work,” the statement added. “To this end Le Gavroche announced earlier this year that the restaurant would be closed all day Monday, as well as being closed Saturday lunchtime, and all day Sunday. This was introduced to improve the working conditions for all staff members.”
By March 2017, Roux will “reduce the maximum estimated working hours for all to 50 hours a week.”