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Costa Coffee workers have made numerous claims alleging poor working conditions across 29 franchise stores.

The BBC has spoken to 26 employees of Costa Coffee franchise stores managed by Goldex Essex Investments Ltd and Bristal Investments Ltd.

Complaints include managers’ alleged refusal to pay for sickness or annual leave, working outside of contracted hours and the retention of tips.

A Costa Coffee spokeswoman said an independent audit has been launched.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations, we have today informed all of our Individual Franchise Partners that we will be launching an independent audit into the legal and ethical compliance of their operations, including employment matters,” she said on Thursday.

The latest allegations surfaced after the BBC reported that staff at Costa stores, managed by Kafeel Khan’s Goldex Essex Investments Ltd, were being charged a minimum of £200 for their own training.

A previous complaint against the Costa franchise partner by ex-employee Daniel Gyori, for withholding wages, was upheld in court in the claimant’s favour.

Deducted holiday pay

An anonymous former employee at a store under Goldex Essex Investments Ltd claims they had almost £1,000 of their holiday pay deducted from their salary, despite being contracted to work 48 hours a week.

The employee claimed they worked, on average, 60 hours per week because of the expectation to arrive at the store at 05:30 in the morning.

The employee says they had accrued the necessary days to claim annual leave – as stated in the contract seen by the BBC – but still had pay deducted.

The complainant outlined a number of other working conditions that they found distressing. They say they found it “impossible” to find time to see their children due to the “long hours”, and suffered a severe amount of emotional distress as a result. Read more

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