AN Olive Press investigation can reveal the identity of a now-notorious restaurant whose owner presided over alleged ‘slave-like’ conditions.
After local media reported this week about a restaurant in Escorca that employed seven people on just €2.80 an hour for up to 14-hour shifts, we can reveal the restaurant Es Port, in Sa Calobra, is owned by local businessman Pedro Vicenc.
While he refused to comment this week – merely confirming his arrest and his pending court date – we spoke to other local restaurateurs who backed up the shocking claims.
The facts are simple: seven people were allegedly found to be working under ‘inhumane’ conditions.
According to a police investigation they received just €40-a-day without proper breaks and under a ‘climate of fear’.
The restaurant ‘took advantage’ of the seven ‘immigrants’, who felt forced to accept the slave-like conditions and work, usually six days a week.
One local restaurant owner, who asked not to be named, told the Olive Press: “I don’t recall seeing a single Spaniard or Mallorquin working there. All workers looked of Muslim persuasion.
“There were always a lot of strange goings-on at that restaurant. It’s been very unsettling.”
Another, who has known the owner for years, said: “It’s a disgrace and has been going on for ages, along with various other things.
“I am so pleased it is finally being dealt with.”
He revealed how over a dozen police swooped on the restaurant with various vans about three weeks ago.
Mayor of Escorca Antoni Solivellas said it was an embarrassment for the town and that Vicenc had been known for his ‘modus operandi’ for some time.
His downfall came a few days after plainclothes cops had staked out the joint.
Official court documents show that the staff were under constant threat of dismissal and forced to lie about any accidents at work.
They were also refused holidays and often had to juggle multiple jobs as cooks, cleaners and maintenance staff.
A police statement said staff were forced to sign off their criminally-low payslips or face the threat of being sacked.
The restaurant, Es Port, which is in the heart of the port of scenic Sa Calobra, is administered under the company name Colobra SL.
Its owner, told the Olive Press: “I can’t say anything now. People can hear what I have to say when I’m in court.”
He was arrested along with two other bosses, who have also been charged with crimes against workers’ rights.
Policia Nacional rumbled the operation following a tip off in September.