Ten migrant workers at a Mayfair club belonging to a donor to Boris Johnson will go on strike over allegations of low pay.
Nine of ten union member kitchen porters at Robin Birley’s 5 Hertford Street voted for strike action for the £10.55 London living wage and “proper occupational sick pay”.
The IWGB union said the workers have made clear they “will no longer be treated like the dirty dishes they clean”, with dates for strike action decided in the coming days.
Mr Birley’s club hit back, claiming the strike ballot may be politically motivated.
According to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the workers earn just £9 per hour – above the legal minimum but “far below” the recommended rate – and are on statutory minimum sick pay.
The club said the rate was £9.50 and will increase to £10.55 “at the start of 2020”.
Meanwhile the club’s membership fees are reputedly £1,500 a year and its bohemian-style cocktail bar LouLou’s includes a stuffed giraffe.
IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez said: “By voting overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, the kitchen porters have sent a clear message that they will no longer be treated like the dirty dishes they clean.
“The club can more than afford to pay these workers the London living wage and proper sick pay.
“If Robin Birley refuses these completely reasonable demands, he will be forced to serve his meals on dirty dishes because those that clean them are out on strike.”
Ten of the club’s 19 kitchen porters are involved.
Owned by Robin Birley – a former UKIP donor who gave £20,000 to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign in June – the club is renowned as one of the most secretive in London.
It patrons are said to include Mick Jagger, Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince William.
A spokesman for the club said: “We are bemused by the IWGB’s attempt to persuade the tiny proportion of 5 Hertford Street staff it represents to go on strike.
“We already pay our kitchen porters £9.50 an hour – well above the minimum wage – and that pay rate will increase to the voluntary London Living Wage of £10.55 at the start of 2020.
“When their pay reaches that level, we will be one of a tiny proportion of London restaurants paying their kitchen porters the LLW.
“On top of that, we also offer a wide range of staff benefits which go well beyond legal requirements: 25 days holiday (plus bank holidays and an additional day off for birthdays), private medical insurance, free hot meals, complimentary access to a private GP, monthly appointments with a chiropodist and a masseuse, and a Christmas bonus equivalent to one week’s pay.
“On the basis of this package, which is so well above the industry norm, we can only imagine that the IWGB has selected 5 Hertford Street for attention for PR and political purposes.”