Shareholders must put a stop to TGI Fridays ‘tip robbing’ policy
28 February 2018
WHEN: Thursday 1 March 2018 at 14:00
WHERE: St. Paul's, 200 Aldersgate Conference Centre, London EC1A 4HD
Unite, Britain’s biggest union, is urging shareholders and investors of Electra, the private equity firm which has a 78 per cent stake in TGI Fridays, to ‘stand up for workers’ by putting pressure on the American dining chain to drop its ‘tip robbing’ policy and meet with the workers’ union.
A letter from workers setting out their anxieties over the decision to take 40 per cent of their card tips without proper consultation in breach of TGI Fridays own guidelines, will be delivered directly to Electra shareholders attending the firm’s annual general meeting (AGM) in London tomorrow (Thursday 1 March).
Waiting staff at over 43 TFI Fridays’ locations are growing increasingly frustrated at the company’s point blank refusal to meet with them or to hear the collective grievance they submitted challenging the decision to take 40 per cent of their cards tips with no consultation – a decision which will leave the chain’s mainly female waiting staff struggling financially.
In the letter, Unite, the workers’ union, urges Electra shareholders to tell TGI Fridays CEO Karen Forrester to properly investigate and address the staff collective grievance.
Claims by the company’s troncmaster that he consulted ‘a large segment of staff’ and carried out ‘research and analysis’ into the controversial tip policy change are strongly refuted by waiting staff who report that workers in the trial were given just two days’ notice that they would be losing 40 per cent of their card tips from 8 January 2018. The roll out was postponed until Monday 19 February after a huge backlash to the plans.
Shareholders are warned that TGI Fridays is risking further bad publicity and damage to its reputation by failing to address legitimate concerns over the tip policy change and the operation of its tronc – an electronic pooling used for distributing card tips and service charge payments.
Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “With staff morale plummeting and workers leaving, TGI Fridays is risking serious damage to its family friendly reputation by failing to hear our members’ collective grievance over the handling of its tip policy change and operation of its tronc.
“Shareholders are urged to put pressure on TGI Fridays’ CEO Karen Forrester to properly investigate the staff collective grievance to avoid further bad publicity and possible strike action in a number of restaurants such is the strength of feeling amongst waiting staff.
“We have been shocked at the way the company has tried to bulldoze this controversial policy change through without any proper and meaningful consultation with its loyal and hardworking workforce. Our offer of involving a senior ACAS conciliator to help resolve the issue was rejected by the company.
“TGI waiters, or dub dubs as they’re known, are paid the government’s national living wage of just £7.50 an hour (if they’re over 25). It’s not enough to live on. They are heavily reliant on tips to make ends meet, and with around 80 per cent of tips now left on debit or credit cards, the company’s decision to take 40 per cent of their card tips, effectively overnight, will leave them seriously out of pocket.
“TGI bosses need to listen to its workforce and start working with Unite. This decision is a bad deal for both front and back of house staff and it’s only right that their grievance is heard.”
Further to the company’s decision to redistribute 40 per cent of card tips via a tronc from waiters to kitchen staff, signatories to the staff grievance letter have called for the immediate resignation of the troncmaster and for staff run elections to appoint a new troncmaster and tronc committee to take place.
Unite believes the chain wants to give kitchen staff a bigger share of card tips, instead of a wage increase for tax reasons, as tips paid via a tronc are not subject to national insurance.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
Note to editors:
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey