A CHEF whose boss sacked him via text message after he questioned his rate of pay has been awarded more than £15,000 at an employment tribunal.

Christopher Hillis, a former chef de partie at Glasgow restaurant Cail Bruich, was being paid less then the minimum wage and received an abusive message dismissing him just days after he asked the owners about it.

Mr Hillis, of Paisley, said he was "devastated" after calling in sick and receiving the message sacking him, with owner Chris Charalambous accusing him of making up "b******t sickness excuses" which were "f***ing b*****ks".

He said: "I was really angry when I received the message. I was devastated actually - I had been sacked.

"I felt it was more about the fact I had mentioned wages to him than being off sick.

"It was just a way to get rid of me."

The former chef, who started working in the restaurant in April last year, questioned Mr Charalambous about his wages on September 19 before calling in sick the following day.

When he later text his boss on September 22 asking when he was to come in, the manager replied: "Your (sic) not. You must think im a f***y.

"You've left me & the team in the sh*t twice now on a Saturday with your b******t sickness excuses.

"You were totally fine on Friday night & even asked Jake out for a drink, then to miraculously develop a sickness bug in a few hours is f***ing b*****ks.

"We don't want you back."

Employment judge Lucy Wiseman found that Mr Hillis had been unfairly dismissed and awarded him a total of £15,157 for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and claims under national minimum wage regulations and holiday pay.

The tribunal heard that the chef regularly worked 60 to 65 hours per week and was paid just over £300 per week.

He was also prevented from taking breaks because the kitchen was too busy, meaning his hourly rate was around £4.

C & P Kitchens Ltd, trading as Cail Bruich, did not defend the action but tried to deny Mr Hillis had raised the issue in a written response to the tribunal.

Judge Wiseman said she "preferred the claimant's version of events", adding: "I decided the claimant raised the issue of pay and hours with a view to enforcing or securing benefit in respect of the National Minimum Wage.

"I further decided the respondent dismissed the claimant for that reason."

The company is now in the process of being dissolved, but Alison Peat, of McGrade & Co solicitors, who represented Mr Hillis, said the restaurant still appears to be trading.

She said: "The tribunal accepted Mr Hillis was paid less than the national minimum wage and that as a result of raising his concerns over non-payment of the national minimum wage, he was unfairly dismissed.

"The underpayment was substantial. The tribunal found that Mr Hillis’ was paid £134 per week less than he should have received.

"While we are very pleased that the tribunal accepted Mr Hillis’ version of events and awarded him substantial compensation, it is extremely disappointing that it will be very difficult for him to recover the sums awarded as the company which employed Mr Hillis has ceased trading, albeit the restaurant continues to trade."

Mr Hillis said he was "gutted" that he had won his case but will not receive any money from the firm.

The owners of Cail Bruich declined to comment on the judgment.