Taking glass back in pub ‘illegal’

Mamm Kounifl is a popular music bar

Bar boss fined €9,000 by Urssaf for having unpaid staff after asking customers to return glasses

A BRITTANY bar boss has been fined €9,000 for using illegal workers – for asking customers to bring their glasses and trays back to the counter after use.

Maryka Le Floch, who has run the popular Mamm Kounifl music bar in Locmiquélic, Morbihan, for 10 years, told Le Télégramme officials from social security agency Urssaf had accused her and her husband of using customers as unpaid “waiters” by asking them to return glasses.

She said the pub, which has received the label Café de pays and hosts regular folk and Celtic music evenings with local bands, was often so busy that it was counter service only and they asked customers had to return trays and glasses.

Then, one summer evening in June, 2012, she said a customer had just returned a glass to the bar when two “heavy-handed” Urssaf officials confronted Ms Le Floch, with one of them forcing her husband up against the window, telling her they had been “caught in the act” of employing illegal workers.

They heard nothing for several weeks and started to think it had been a prank until they got a letter saying they had been fined €7,900 for having illegal staff. They were also referred to the local prosecutor and later arrested by gendarmes.

After getting may letters of support from customers, the prosecutor investigated their situation and decided there was no case against them, saying no offence had been committed.

Urssaf then launched a civil court claim, demanding a fine of €9,000 after penalties for non-payment. The couple have refused to pay but no date has yet been set for a hearing.

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