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Fair tips for waiting staff

Fair Tips stamp 2017 It's been over a year since the former business secretary, Sajid Javid said these words at the launch of the government consultation on restaurant tips in May 2016. Unite hailed it as a massive, rightful victory for working people. But 19 months later, workers are still waiting....


Why are we waiting?

Eating out this festive season, and want to reward good service? Then please beware of the service charge automatically added to your bill. It's not a tip. In some restaurants workers won't see a penny of it. 

FYI, you don't have to pay it. Ask for it to be taken off and tip in cash instead this Christmas. Because a cash tip is more likely to go to the people that deserve it, the low paid waiters and kitchen staff who have helped make your meal special - and not be gobbled up by greedy bosses. 


Our story....

Unite has been exposing rip-off tipping practices in the hospitality industry since 2008. In May 2015 we turned the heat up on Pizza Express over the 8 per cent so-called 'admin fee'  it was taking from staff tips paid on a card. 

We won at Pizza Express! Our summer of campaigning sparked a media blitz. The huge public backlash forced many more restaurant chains to abandon their unfair tipping policies - it even prompted the government to act with the launch of its consultation.But here we over two years later and rip off tip scams are still making headlines.

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 Fair Tips 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 gets a share.

Fair Tips film

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