Edinburgh curry house owner faces legal action over unpaid staff wages

The owners of a Bangladeshi restaurant in Edinburgh have been threatened with legal action from a hospitality union following a wage war with its staff members.

locked: Tommys Banglacafe on Charlotte Street has been closed since September.
locked: Tommys Banglacafe on Charlotte Street has been closed since September.

Tommy’s Banglacafe opened in July, but in September it was revealed that lower than expected takings over the summer festivals meant bosses could only afford to pay staff five per cent of their wages, leaving them a combined total of £25,000 out of pocket from unpaid wages, holiday pay and tips.

Unite the union has taken up the staff’s cause and told the Evening News they have written to the directors threatening legal action for breaches of the Employment Rights Act and the National Minimum Wage Act.

The union demanded a face-to-face meeting with restaurant owners, but has not yet received a response.

Unite has advised that the next step would be to take direct action.

The owner of the Charlotte Street restaurant is listed on Companies House as Rajoo Miah, believed to be celebrated Edinburgh chef Tommy Miah’s son.

Mr Miah, Scotland’s “Curry King”, received an MBE for his services to the hospitality industry and charity in 2017.

But the following year he was barred from being a company director for seven years, after running up a tax debt of £229,000 by not keeping accounts of award-winning restaurant The Raj in Blackhall.

Both Mr Miah and his wife Anwara were on the board of Murrayfield Developments Limited, which was incorporated in 2004 and traded as The Original Raj Hotel.

The Miahs were joint directors of MDL from 2012 until it ceased trading in November 2015 and later plunged into liquidation.

An Insolvency Service investigation led to a civil trial.

The Tommy’s Banglacafe Facebook page shows images of Tommy Miah celebrating the opening of the restaurant and promoting the venture.

A contractor who was hired to carry out the fit of the restaurant has claimed that he had never dealt with Mr Miah Jr, and had always been directed by Tommy Miah who agreed all invoices with him.

The contractors have claimed that Tommy’s Banglacafe owners owe them the amount of £12,000 in unpaid invoices dating back to July.

The restaurant mysteriously closed its doors without warning in September following the reports of the unpaid staff members and the doors still remain locked with the blinds drawn.

The restaurant’s website has been taken down.

Efforts to reach the restaurant for comment were unsuccessful.