Fair tips for waiting staff

Fair Tips stamp 2017 When the former business secretary, Sajid Javid said these words at the launch of the government consultation on tipping last May, Unite hailed it as a massive, rightful victory for working people.

But 10 months after the consultation closed (27 June), the government has yet to publish its findings! We think this is totally unacceptable, because while workers wait, unscrupulous bosses are still creaming off the tips from its low paid staff.

Sign our petition

Now we need your help to get this government to deliver for our members. 

Please sign and share our petition calling on the BEIS secretary, Greg Clark to publish the recommendations:

Petition: Fair Tips for hospitality workers

Our story....

Unite has been exposing rip-off tipping practices in the hospitality industry since 2008. Nearly two years ago, (May 2015) we turned the spotlight on Pizza Express, putting pressure on the popular chain to scrap the 8 per cent 'admin fee' it was taking from staff tips paid on a card. 

We won at Pizza Express! Our campaign sparked a huge media blitz; many more high street favourites were exposed for creaming off staff tips in various nefarious tipping scams, from 'admin fees' to table sale levies and pocketing service charge payments for themselves. The massive public backlash forced many to change their policies and even prompted the government to act with the launch of its consultation.  

Unite’s 3 key demands to put #FairTips on every menu: 

We will continue to call for the introduction of: 

  • Primary legislation to give staff 100% ownership of their hard-earned tips with total control over how they are shared out between front and back of house staff.

  • Rules to ensure that company Tronc schemes are genuinely independent; free from employer interference and influence, run by staff for staff, not senior managers!

  • Greater transparency so that staff and consumers alike know how the money from discretionary charges is divvied up, and how much the company pockets for itself.

Too many employers have failed to respect the 2009 voluntary code of practice, we welcome the government’s proposal to put it on a statutory footing.

What you can do to help

You see the problem is that tips paid on a credit card and service charges are the property of the employer. As they own them they can do what they like with them. So until staff are given 100% ownership rights over their hard earned tips with complete control over how they are shared out, rogue employers will continue to cream off staff tips.
  • Please tip in cash - leaving cash means the whole amount will go to the staff (divided between waiters and kitchen staff). 
  • Confused by the service charge? Then ask for this to be removed & leave cash instead 
  • Share your story- Fed up of your employer taking a slice of your hard-earned tips? Tell us about it.
  • Work in the hospitality sector? Then we want to hear from you. Contact us. Get organised with Unite on your side 
  • Follow Unite's hospitality branch on Facebook and Twitter using #FairTips 
  • Not in a union?The join Unite - Your union. You voice
  • Confused by tipping? Read our guide

Beware of the scams!

  Employers hold onto staff tips in all kinds of ways, often without customers knowledge including:

1. Charging a fee - employers taking a cut from customer tips paid on a credit or debit card as an administration fee. Typically between 8%-15%.

2. Charging waiters to work - deducting a percentage of between 2%-3% from waiting staff table sales. If staff don't make enough money in tips to cover the levy, then it comes out of their wages.

3. Employers pocketing entire or hefty chunk of the 'optional' service charge that increasing numbers of restaurants are automatically adding to customer bills, instead of giving it to staff. Typically between 10%-15%.

4. Using tips and service charge payments to cover the cost of breakages, till shortages, customers doing a runner, paying credit card transaction fees or quite simply to boost their own profits. They could even be used to boost senior managers' wages.

5. Bogus tronc schemes - a properly run tronc scheme - a pooling system used by employers to distribute non-cash tips to employees -should be genuinely independent, free from employer interference and involve staff. But many aren't - too often staff get no say in how non-cash tips and service charge are shared out or who get a share.

Fair Tips film

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