Fair tips for waiting staff

Fair Tips stamp 2017 A big thank you to everyone who took the time to take part in the joint Unite / Going To Work survey. 

We received nearly 600 responses from customers and staff like. The findings have been submitted to the government's consultation into unfair tipping practices which closed on Monday 27 June. 


Read our joint submission here

Our findings.....

In what has been the biggest survey of its kind, just shy of 90 per cent of those questioned, echoed Unite's call for the introduction of primary legislation to give staff 100 per cent ownership rights over their hard earned tips. 

94% want the government's new code on tipping to be mandatory, with restaurants bosses made to follow it. Less than a quarter of respondents support the government's proposals of a cap to limit employer deductions from staff tips. Only two per cent said that restaurants should be free to add a service charge to bills without restriction. 

See the survey results here

The message from diners and workers couldn't be clearer: the business secretary, Sajid Javid needs to legislate to crackdown on rip off tips' scams. There needs to be clear rules to ensure that restaurants are completely transparent about the allocation of tips to different grades of staff and accept that workers should keep all their tips.

Our story....

Unite has been exposing rip-off tipping practices in the hospitality industry since 2008. Last summer we turned the spotlight on Pizza Express by putting pressure on the popular chain to scrap the 8 per cent admin fee it was taking from staff tips paid on a card. 

Because of our campaign and widespread media attention many popular chain vowed to scrap their admin fees. It even prompted the business secretary, Sajid Javid to act. He launched a Call for Evidence at the end of the summer, the long awaited response was published on 2 May. 

READ the full report here – Government consultation on tips….May 2016


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.

The story so far...

We won at Pizza Express! After Unite turned up the heat with a summer of campaigning the popular pizza chain announced (3 September 2015) that it would scrap the 8% admin fee from tips paid on a card. Many other big name chains, did the same.  

But with restaurants like Jamie’s Italian under fire for deducting a percentage of a waiter's table sales from credit card tips, Prezzo and Strada still swiping a slice as an admin fee and Bill's restaurant accused of pocketing a large proportion of the service charge automatically added to diners' bills, it is clear that we’ve still got some way to go in the fight for fair tips. 

Email and tweet your MP now to ask them to sign EDM 595 - it takes less than a minute. Enter your postcode below to get started.
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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 it in 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

Fair Tips film

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