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Sugargate Becomes Sugar Hill For Plachutta

In the latest development in the saga over the firing of an employee from Plachutta restaurant in Vienna, hundreds of people took part in a sugar flash mob outside the premises on Saturday as people protested over the dismissal.

Dubbed by some media as the 'Sugargate' scandal, the criticism of the fancy Viennese restaurant came after an employee lost his job at the restaurant when it was revealed he had used 50g of the company's icing sugar to sweeten his strawberries.

This was too much for the boss who fired the culprit, sparking a public outcry when the dismissed waiter went to the press with his story and complained about the working conditions at the Inner Stadt restaurant. His firing was also found by a Labour Court in Vienna to be a case of unfair dismissal last week.

A mini protest held outside the restaurant on Thursday, where supporters of the sacked employee handed out sugared strawberries to passers-by, turned childish when a waiter had to be pulled back into the restaurant by security after he upturned a bowl of strawberries, spilling pieces of fruit all over the pavement.

On Saturday the protesters returned - this time in their hundreds and armed with bags of sugar to create a sugar hill outside the restaurant - to highlight the unfair dismissal of the employee in question and show their support for employee rights.

Boss Marcio Plachutta, who runs 6 gastro businesses and is known as the 'Beef Emperor', has come under fire for not stepping up and apologising for the unfair dismissal. Instead the company has defended the firing, saying in a press release that it was not the value of the sugar (equivalent of 10 cents) but the approach of the person concerned that led to his dismissal who they say went to the warehouse without asking.

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