BREWDOG may have broken the law by ending its status as a Real Living Wage employer, a trade union believes.  

The Aberdeenshire-based brewery and pub chain announced last week it was withdrawing from the scheme, with workers now to be paid the state-mandated minimum wage while workers in London had their wages frozen.  

The Sunday National understands Unite Hospitality, which represents BrewDog workers, is considering a legal challenge against the firm and has said it believes the changes could be illegal.  

Unite could argue that the firm’s former status as a Real Living Wage employer formed part of workers’ implied terms of employment, meaning they would have reasonably expected their wages to continue to be pegged to that metric instead of the legal minimum wage.  

It comes after the loss-making firm sparked outrage by announcing what Unite called an “outrageous” change to workers’ pay.  

New employees will no longer be offered the Real Living Wage – which is calculated by the charity of the same name – and instead be put on the national minimum wage, which will be set at £11.44 per hour from this April for workers aged over 21. 

READ MORE: BrewDog boss took luxury Maldives holiday before 'outrageous' staff wage change

The Real Living Wage has been set to rise to £12 per hour by April at the latest. 

BrewDog workers are currently offered £10.90 per hour with workers in London on the slightly higher rate of £11.95.  

Punks With Purpose, a campaign group set up by ex-workers, called the changes a “real terms pay cut” for workers, against the backdrop of a 5.2% rate of inflation.  

Speaking exclusively with the Sunday National, Unite Hospitality’s lead organiser Bryan Simpson said the union would do “everything we can” to challenge the decision.  

The National: Brewdog

He said: “For BrewDog to be effectively getting rid of the Real Living Wage during one of the most acute cost-of-living crises that we’ve seen in a generation is not just morally repugnant, it’s potentially unlawful and a breach of contract.  

“Given the impact this will have on the income of our members, we would regard this as a fundamental terms and conditions change for which you must consult your workforce - and quite clearly, BrewDog senior management has not done that.

READ MORE: BrewDog announces it will no longer pay new workers Real Living Wage

“As the union representing hundreds of members across BrewDog, we in Unite Hospitality will be doing everything we can – legally and industrially – to collectively challenge this horrendous decision and to ensure the company does the right thing and bring back the Real Living Wage for its hardworking staff.” 

BrewDog said it followed the “correct process” before making the changes.  

The National: James Watt, BrewDog

It comes after The National exposed BrewDog founder James Watt’s (above) luxurious island retreat a little more than a month before deciding to axe the company’s status as a Real Living Wage employer

The businessman spent time with his celebrity girlfriend Georgia “Toff” Toffolo scuba-diving and flyboarding in the Maldives at the end of November. 

The firm has expanded aggressively since it was founded in 2007 by Watt and Martin Dickie.  

It now boasts more than 100 locations worldwide, including bars in Las Vegas, Shanghai and Mumbai.

BrewDog declined to comment.