Unite accuses Six by Nico of staff mistreatment

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Unite union accuses Six by Nico of staff mistreatment

Related tags: Nico Simeone, Staff

Restaurant group Six by Nico is facing accusations from trade union Unite that it underpaid staff, used tips to pay senior managers, and had employees work long shifts without breaks.

Unite's hospitality branch claims more than 40 Six by Nico staff from across the country have made contact with allegations about the group, which was founded in Glasgow by chef Nico Simeone back in 2017.

However, a spokesperson for the Scotland-based Simeone group, which operates seven UK restaurants in total, told BigHospitality​ that not a single complaint has been made to it by any former or current members of staff.

Last month it was alleged​ that a head chef employed by Home-X, the meal kit brand owned by Simeone, had been sacked after asking to be paid £2000 for more than 200 hours of unpaid overtime.

Unite said at the time that it was seeking an industrial tribunal, claiming the chef suffered 'automatic unfair dismissal and breach of contract'.

The spokesperson for the Simeone group strongly denied the claims, though, saying the chef in question was dismissed following 'repeated instances of inappropriate conduct' and had been paid in full. They added that the group will 'vigorously defend' any action raised in this case.

Bryan Simpson, Unite’s Glasgow hospitality organiser, told the Edinburgh Evening News​ late last week that the union had subsequently heard many different stories from staff past and present that reflected poor treatment.

They include from one former assistant manager who said they received no break over a 16-hour shift and that tips were used to pay senior managers.

Simpson said: “We’ve been contacted by workers about underpayment of wages, 16 hour shifts without a break and misuse of furlough.

"These horrendous reports show that there are systemic issues with the way in which Six by Nico are treating their workers, morally and legally."

Responding to the allegations, a spokesperson for the Simeone Group said: “Over the past five years we’ve grown incredibly quickly and employ hundreds of talented and dedicated people.

“We’ve focussed on giving customers the best possible dining experience while giving our people the chance to be part of a thriving, fast-paced and fun environment, which the vast majority have really embraced.

“In recent months, we’ve made significant investments in our administration functions, with a host of senior appointments in areas such as finance and HR, to make sure these areas reflect the high standards enjoyed by our customers.

“We’ve already made it clear that, if current or former staff wish to bring any matters to our attention, we would welcome the opportunity to investigate them and will respond quickly, transparently and appropriately.

“If any mistakes have been made, we will hold up our hands and rectify them, but it’s perhaps telling that, despite Bryan Simpson’s numerous unverified and anonymous claims, not a single complaint has since been brought to us by any former or current members of staff.”

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