The restaurant group is said to have called a meeting for all staff where it and asked them to borrow the money back from their pay packets.
In the Zoom meeting, staff that refused to agree to the terms were allegedly told that the company will review whether they are suitable for the role, according to the GMB Union.
In a company statement, Tomahawk said it had asked staff to help cover the cost of NI and pensions but refuted the claims by the GMB Union that staff were compelled to do so.
“At no point has Tomahawk Steakhouse suggested that members of staff would be sacked if they did not sign a loan agreement,” it said.
“Like the rest of the hospitality industry, we have faced a challenging year, and our priority throughout has been to protect our people and our business. As part of this and in order to survive the coming months, we asked our staff to sign up to a voluntary agreement to help us cover the cost of Employer NIC/Pension amounts, in the form of a loan. Every single employee chose to sign up to this agreement.”
Neil Derrick, GMB regional secretary, described Tomahawk’s actions as finding a loophole in the furlough scheme.
“This is an outrageous abuse of the furlough scheme and a legal loophole that must be closed,” he said.
“It’s never been easier for businesses to access cheap money, yet Tomahawk is bullying its own young, low-paid staff to raise interest free cash.
“This callous behaviour will leave waiters and waitresses, pot-washers and cooks short of cash and force them to take out interest rated loans to cover the shortfall or face losing their jobs.
“Tomahawk needs to take a long hard look at its behaviour – and this legal loophole must be closed before other companies follow suit.”