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Campaigners hail fair tips victory

Campaigners are celebrating after the UK government backed pleas to ban high street chains from taking waiting staff tips.

Unite the Union launched the campaign after bosses at chains like Pizza Express were found to be keeping hold of staff tips or taking them away from one group of low waged workers and giving them to another, instead of paying them all a wage they can live on.

Earlier this year, waiting staff at TGI Fridays were given just two days’ notice before 40 per cent of their tips paid by card were taken and redistributed to the kitchen teams to top up their low wages – a move that has cost waiting staff around £65 per week.

Some employers are pocketing the entire ‘optional’ service charge that increasing numbers of restaurants are automatically adding to customer bills, instead of giving it to staff.

One campaigner, Sallie, said in a video message:

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has backed the campaign over the last few years, it’s been a long time coming.

While this is a good first step we need to make sure the government keeps its promise.

Consumers have been advised that they can still help keep the pressure on and help end the scam by insisting on leaving your tips in cash.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull added:

As ever the devil will be in the detail of the legislation the government brings forward.

There will be question marks as to whether it will deal with the myriad of scams some restaurants use to pilfer staff tips to boost their profits, in addition to dealing with an unjust situation at TGI Fridays, which uses tips left for waiting staff to subsidise the low wages of skilled kitchen staff.

Unite will be seeking assurances from ministers that the legislation the government introduces truly delivers fair tips for some of the lowest paid workers in the UK and that it is done so in a timely manner.

Image by Mark Thomas / Unite

You can find out more about Unite the Union and join here.