The fight against Hossein Akef’s exploitation of workers continues.
Even though he lost the court case in an attempt to silence us and his ex employees (Recht.nl), the Lupi Man has decided to appeal the court’s decision. He can prepare for another loss.
We are continuing actions against this business, and will continue until Akef fulfills these demands:
- Legal contracts with payment and labor conditions according to the Horeca CAO.
- Repayment of wages owed to ex and current employees, including unpaid labor hours, and the payment of the difference between minimum wage and the Horeca minimum wage.
- An end to intimidation of current and ex employees. This applies to his representatives, as well as to his current management team, who are complicit in the abuse of employees.
After a string of unfortunate PR moments (Doorbraak, Doorbraak), Akef decided to share some good news about Lupi. Or so he thought…
What seemed like a nice event to brag about has come back to haunt the horeca-boss. Akef received an award given out to over 200 “entrepreneurs” by local alderman from the political party D66 Saskia Bruines and the MKB in the Hague. Unfortunately for the Coffee Man, we noticed it immediately. Local media and political parties were immediately notified and soon Akef’s victory lap turned into a pity party (AD.nl).
So why is it such a big deal that Akef got this little award, which was given to so many other “entrepreneurs”?
- This award reminds us that there have still been no legal consequences for Akef and his business methods. The labor inspection has failed to address this.
- The local political parties of SP den Haag and Haagse Stadspartij presented questions in the local parliament (31/07/2024) about the intimidation that Akef used against ex employees, and about the way he runs his business (Doorbraak). Local government failed to give meaningful answers, and even claimed that the doxxing of the ex worker did not happen in Leiden! This is especially disappointing, because Leiden police turned the ex employee away when she tried to report the dangerous publication of her personal information. We expect an answer about why local authorities decided to look away when Akef intimidates employees.
- The MKB and alderman Saskia Bruines who gave Akef this award have been caught in an embarrassing media storm. They claim that they did not know about all the scandal surrounding Akef, and regret it deeply (Doorbraak). They have even deleted the announcement of these awards from their social media in an effort to take attention away from their mistake. This event proves that business owners are routinely rewarded for their “entrepreneurship”, regardless of how they treat their workers. A simple google search would have revealed what these officials should have already known about their own city!
Lupi is only an example of the general attitude towards Horeca workers, especially towards those who try to speak up. Hospitality workers are often treated as unskilled and not worthy of fair pay. Bad conditions are seen as “just part of the package”, and absurdly controlling employers are also seen as the norm. The lack of interest in this case shown by multiple official bodies is shameful, and it shows what they think of workers that are often migrants, students, and vulnerable to exploitation.
New Cases Keep Coming
Since this campaign began in July of last year (Horeca United), more baristas have joined. The first court case did not convince Lupi that they must follow the law. Neighbors of Akef’s cafes, family and friends of ex employees, and local politicians, have offered support and new information. Another ex employee has joined the fight against his business with the usual laundry list of complaints, and more proof of how he and his managers intimidate employees.
Akef’s reputation is catching up with him, and it is costing everyone who tries to associate themselves with him. It is time for this employer to take responsibility, and it is time for local government and labor authorities to step up their game! The government in the Hague are trying to wash their hands of him, but they have only proven how little they care about fair employment of hospitality workers. They celebrate business owners who bring revenue to their cities, but not the workers that get stepped on for this money.
What gives us strength in this story is the persistence and practical solidarity shown by the workers who stand up against bosses like Akef. Despite the lack of support or interest from those responsible for “representing the interests of workers” in the Horeca sector. These workers represented themselves, and supported each other. And that is what matters most. Not just for these specific baristas, but for all of us who sustain businesses that are allowed to treat us like cheap, disposable products.
Our strength lies in our networks. In the trust that we build together during long, underpaid shifts. We know we are powerful when we support each other, because we have seen how nervous bosses like Akef get. The commotion that this one campaign has caused is proof of this! So let’s remind those “entrepreneurs” that we are the ones who built their empires. And if they are not convinced, let’s tear those empires down.
Horeca tyrants: we’re looking at you.