The five-year delay in the government coming forward with tips legislation has cost the UK’s waiting staff an estimated £10,000 in ‘lost’ tips, Unite said today (Friday 24 September).

While welcoming today’s announcement from labour markets minister Paul Scully that the law will be changed so that staff will now receive 100 per cent of their service charge, Unite criticised the government’s dilatoriness that has hit hard financially the two million-strong hospitality workforce.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:"It's shocking that this group of mainly young workers has had to wait five years for government action to tackle the tips scandal. We will continue to challenge abuses in the workplace and Unite will keep fighting to improve the jobs, pay and conditions of the hospitality workforce."

Unite said based on a survey of its Pizza Express members, waiting staff were losing £2,000-a-year in ‘lost’ tips  or an estimated £10,000 since the government’s 2016 announcement to clamp down on unfair tipping practices.

Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said:“We are pleased that our calls for a code of practice have been heard, but such a code must not leave workers open to abuse of unfair distribution systems such as at Pizza Express where tips are being used to subsidise wages of workers in a disproportionate way.

“Unite - as the largest union for hospitality workers - should be closely involved in the discussions which develop this statutory code.

“For those that have been working in the sector since 2016, we calculate, based on a survey of our Pizza Express members, that hospitality workers have lost on average £2,000-a-year in tips which is disgraceful.

“We regard this as a first step to stamping out the long hours culture and exploitative working environment that bad employers have got away with for far too long in the UK hospitality sector.”

Unite said it was in May 2016 that the then business secretary Sajid Javid unveiled new plans to end unfair tipping practices when he said: I’m setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.