Union and industry unite to promote good tipping practice

Union and industry unite to promote good tipping practice

10 September 2017

Tipping transparency moved a step closer today with the launch of a landmark new code between Unite, Britain’s biggest union and the Association of Licenced Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the voice of the UK’s eating and drinking out sector.

Launched today (Sunday 10 September) the jointly agreed code aims to promote widespread good tipping practice by establishing a set of ‘good tronc principles’ for the fair and transparent pooling and distribution of tips, service charges and gratuities in the UK hospitality industry. 

The working partnership between Unite and the ALMR, the leading industry voice of over 90 per cent of managed pubs, clubs, branded restaurants and cafes, comes out of a common commitment to clear up the confusion that exists around tipping for staff and customers. 

The code establishes that when a company is involved in distributing tips, staff are fully engaged with a process that is genuinely independent, transparent and provides for genuine allocation, as well as for dispute resolution. 

This good news comes as Unite continues to call on the government to release the findings of its consultation into tipping which is now 15 months overdue. 

Commenting Unite regional officer, Dave Turnbull said: “Unite is pleased to have joined forces with the ALMR to create a code which seeks to bring greater fairness and transparency to tipping for customers and staff. 

“Much of the confusion and mistrust around tips and service charges has been caused because customers and staff have been kept in the dark over how they are shared out and who gets what.

“The code is a work in progress with both sides committed to making this work in the interests of all concerned. At the heart of the Unite/ALMR code is an agreed position on the need for greater tipping transparency. Giving staff a say in how tips are shared out is a step in the right direction.”

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is important that a workable and transparent code is in place to ensure that tips are dealt with fairly and legally.

“Venues carry out an important tax collecting role when they distribute tips and this must be acknowledged. We also want a system that rewards staff members and ensures that those employees working hard to earn their tips do not miss out.

“The ALMR is proud to have worked with Unite to establish a set of principles that offer our support to those people who make the UK’s innovative and lively eating and drinking out sector such a success. This code will provide employers, employees and customers with peace of mind that tips are being distributed legally and fairly.”

 Customers can now tip in confidence at over 23,000 ALMR member outlets, secure in the knowledge that the pooling and distribution of tips and service charges fairly represents the interests of all staff who have contributed to the their experience. 

Unite and the ALMR will monitor the implementation of the code and have established a joint process under which complaints of code violations raised by staff or customers can be investigated and tackled. 


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

  • Tronc definition: A tronc is a pay arrangement used to pool and distribute tips, run independently of the employer by a troncmaster.  PAYE is due on any gratuities distributed and the troncmaster is responsible for calculating and deducting this.  However, NICs are only due on payments from the Tronc if the employer directly or indirectly allocates the payments.

Unite/ALMR jointly agreed principles of a good tronc:

  • Independent and free from undue influence by any one party – troncmaster and the tronc committee elected by staff and accountable to staff. No direct company involvement on tronc allocation or decisions.
  • Transparent and open in its dealings – all tronc rules, decisions and methods of allocation readily accessible and available to all staff. Tronc to be audited quarterly by staff who are not the troncmaster or tronc committee.
  • Fair and genuine allocation –no hidden charges or admin fees imposed by employer. No deductions for walkouts, breakages, performance. 
  • Genuine engagement - genuine and meaningful consultation with all staff on any changes to rules and process proposed by troncmaster and tronc committee before decisions are agreed.
  • Provides for dispute resolution. 
  • 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.