Saturday 18 April 2015

French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'

James Rothwell

Published 21/12/2013 | 09:41

French pub fined for customers returing their empties to the bar
French pub fined for customers returing their empties to the bar

French officials have fined a pub in Brittany €9,000 for “undeclared labour” after a customer returned some empty glasses to the bar.

For customers at the Mamm-Kounifl concert-café in Locmiquélic, carrying drinks trays and used glasses back to the bar was a polite tradition.

But for social security agency URSAFF, it was also an infringement of labour laws because customers were acting like waiters, French local newspaper Le Télégramme reported.

“Around half-past midnight, a customer returned a drinks tray. She passed by the bar to go to the toilets. That was when it all kicked off.   My husband was pinned against the glass by a man. A woman leapt on me, showing her ID card and that’s when I realised it was a URSSAF check. They told me I had been caught using undeclared labour,” owner Markya Le Floch told Le Télégramme.

“It is a scam. We haven’t committed any wrong doing,” she added.

The authorities initially fined the pub owners €7,900 and briefly placed them in police custody. Customers vouched for the owners and they escaped charges, but URSSAF are still pursuing a social case and are now seeking €9,000 due to non-payment of the original fine.  A URSSAF spokesperson told France Bleu they refute the owners’ account of the incident.

“We were shocked by this and we’re certainly not going to pay the fine. This was all a mistake. What happened was completely surreal, but we’ve received a lot of support from our customers, and they also think that this situation is completely ridiculous,” Le Foch told The Independent.

The case will now be examined at a later date at a special court in Britany.

Independent News Service

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