Interest on money owed can pile up: CUCINA MANILA ORDERED TO PAY WORKERS

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The Director of Employment Standards recently ordered Cucina Manila Restaurants Inc. to pay affected workers money owed to them as legitimate salaries.

The workers filed for a total amount of $23,899.00 but the Employment Standards Branch calculated the full amount owed to the workers at $42,495.12 plus the mandatory administrative penalty of $2,500.00 for a final total owing of $44,995.12

Cucina Manila was given five working days to send a certified cheque or money order payable to the Director of Employment Standards. If payment is not received by the end of the appeal period additional interest will accrue.

A Determination may be filed in British Columbia Supreme Court and collection proceedings commenced without further notice. This may include the issuance of a writ of seizure and sale to be executed by the Court Bailiff. It means the courts could seize any properties owned by the group to cover for its financial liabilities.

Under the Act, directors and officers of companies can also be required to pay wages owed to employees.  Directors and officers who authorize, permit or acquiesce in the contravention of the Act are also liable for the total administrative penalty amount.

Five previous employees of Cucina Manila food group have filed a Request for Payment against the said company before the British Columbia Employment Standards Branch claiming non-payment of wages amounting to a total of $23,899.00.

The Cucina Manila group of restaurants owned by Liberty Vibar was relatively successful in the past years with their expansion into a four restaurant operation in Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey and Vancouver.

The Richmond location, however, recently closed.

The MetroVan Independent News team who interviewed five former Cucina Manila employees unraveled what appear to be similar allegations. They could not get past wages due. Instead, they would keep working with the hope they would eventually be paid.

Management would string them along with promises – just enough to keep them working but not catching up with past salary owed. At times they would be paid in cash after every shift. They reported, once they stopped working they could not get paid for past hours owed. They all reported they were never paid for overtime or holiday pay at any time. Some employees worked seven days a week.

From left to right: Delford Avila, Wilfredo Bagang, Lasalette Viray, Edward Libunao. Photo by MVI News

From left to right: Delford Avila, Wilfredo Bagang, Lasalette Viray, Edward Libunao. Photo by MVI News

EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS

Lasallete L. Viray – who worked for Cucina Manila for seven years wrote in her complaint that she is owed $7,085.00 for unpaid salary, holiday pay and overtime. “I was working for an average of 13.5 hours a day without overtime and without holiday pay. They did not pay me overtime.

They only paid partial of my regular salary. To cheat on their taxes, they payed me in cash. I have a record of all my hours. I have worked at Cucina Manila Surrey.” Viray reported working 94.5 hours per week

Wilfredo M. Bagang – who worked for Cucina Manila for eight months wrote he is owed $2,709.00 and wrote in the complaint “I was never paid for those days and I was paid in checks that turned out to have no sufficient funds (NSF). So I asked to be paid in cash for the rest which they did not do.”

Delford T. Avila – who worked for Cucina Manila for six years wrote he is owed $3,900.00 and stated “I was working for an average of 8.5 hours a day without overtime and without holiday pay. They only did not pay me overtime, they only paid partial of my regular salary. To cheat on their taxes, they paid me in cash. I have a record of all my hours I have worked at Cucina Manila.”

Edward Libunao – who worked for Cucina Manila at the Joyce Station for six years has not filed his complaint at the time of the original interview claims “Cucina owes him $1,400.00. He said in an interview he had similar experiences as the others trying to collect money.”

Roshir Cabanayan – worked for Cucina Manila for six months. Roshir sent Ms. Vibar a request for payment on an Employment Standards form for the amount of $8,805.00 which includes 444 unpaid hours.

Ms. Cabanayan told Metrovan Independent News in a phone interview that she worked seven days a week from 6:30AM to 8PM. Her wage was set at $11 per hour.

She kept working because Liberty kept promising they would get paid. When she was about to leave, Liberty would give her a bit of money to keep her working but never paid her back wages. After some employees left, Liberty would pay the remaining employees $100 a day alternatively to keep them working.

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About the Writer

MetroVan Independent News Team

The MetroVan Independent News team is a group of talented individuals uniting to serve their community through the power of words. They strive for accuracy, fairness, transparency and accountability aiming to engage, inform and entertain their readers. The team's secret weapon is courage and integrity... with a hint of adobo.

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