With restaurants and bars across the UK braced for the biggest Christmas parties night out tomorrow (Friday 15 December), Unite, Britain’s biggest union, is urging festive revellers to spare a thought for your waiter and waitress by tipping in cash this Christmas.
Revellers are also warned to ‘beware the service charge’, that is automatically added to bills. Typically 12.5 per cent, the service charge is not the same as a tip, unlike a cash tip it belongs to the business and is used to pay for breakages, till shortages, customer walkouts and senior manager’s wages. In some restaurants workers are unlikely to see a penny of the service charge.
Unite is spreading the message on its social media channels in the run up to Christmas calling on people to ask for the service charge to be removed and tip in cash instead.
The call comes as Unite steps up the pressure on the government over its failure to release its report into tips for hospitality staff, as the consultation closed for submissions 19 months ago.
Unite regional officer, Dave Turnbull said: “With the country’s restaurant workers and bartenders bracing themselves for their busiest night of the festive period we are urging people to spare a thought for their server and tip in cash this Christmas.
“If you want to show your appreciation for good service then please tip in cash. A cash tip is much more likely to go to the people who deserve it; the low paid waiters and kitchen staff who helped make your night special and not gobbled up by greedy bosses.
“Customers need to beware that service charge is not a tip. In some restaurants workers may not get a penny of it. It belongs to the business so they can do what they like with it, using it to cover everything from customer walking out with paying to topping up senior staff wages. This is why we’re urging diners to get it taken off and tip in cash this Christmas.
“The government needs to stop dragging its feet and release its long overdue report on tipping. Until it does rogue bosses will continue to fine new loopholes to exploit and the confusion around tipping will persist.
Unite has been forefront in exposing the rip-off culture that has seen restaurant bosses creaming off money left for tips that customers thought were going to cash-strapped staff.
The government launched a two-month long consultation on 2 May 2016, after an eight month review into the dubious tipping practices of some of the UK’s most popular restaurant chains, first exposed by Unite at Pizza Express in the summer of 2015.
Note to editors:
Watch Unite’s ‘Tip in cash this Christmas video on its facebook page
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
Note to editors:
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