​Wagamama Apologises For Telling Staff ‘No Calling In Sick’ Over Christmas

Having to work on or around Christmas Day can be pretty crappy - whether you work in a hospital, a bar, a shop, a restaurant, a hotel or wherever - but with some jobs it's just the way it goes, as there's simply still work to be done.

However, what if you worked somewhere that threatened to dish out 'disciplinary action' if you had to call in sick? And all just so the Christmas shoppers can get their fix of Chicken Katsu Curry.

That's what one London branch of Japanese chain Wagamama has done, with a manager at the North Finchley restaurant telling staff that there was to be 'no calling in sick' over the two week festive period.

The notice had been attached to the staff rota, saying: "No calling in sick! May I remind you that if you are unable to come in for your shift it is your responsibility to find someone to cover your shift (as per contract and handbook).

"Calling in sick during the next 2 weeks will result in disciplinary action being taken".

Credit: Unite

Pretty harsh, huh?

The Unite trade union then shared the story, saying one of its members had sent in the document. The union also said that while it may be a shocking example, "it's sadly quite normal across the industry - particularly at this time of year".

A Wagamama spokesperson has now confirmed that what happened was indeed true, but stressed that it was an isolated incident.

"The manager involved feared team member shortages over the festive period and regrettably decided to take this highly unusual approach," the spokesperson said.

The statement also said: "We sincerely apologise for what has happened and wish all our team members and customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Credit: Pietro and Silvia / Flickr

Wagamama employs a total of 4,800 people across its 166 branches in the UK, and last year made a £34 million ($45 million) profit, according to the Guardian.

The news sparked a #boycottwagamama campaign on social media, with many people saying that by not letting staff take time off work when they were ill, it could have put customers' health at risk.

Unfortunately, though, like Unite said in its Facebook post, the pressure not to call in sick when there's a Christmas rush on is something that's not unusual. Just spare a thought for those having to work hard over the Christmas a New Year's Eve period - we salute you guys.

Featured Image Credit: Tony Webster

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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