Following a Unite campaign, Pizza Express will scrap a controversial tipping policy that deducted 50 per cent of card tips from minimum wage waiting staff and reduced their incomes by an average of £2,000 a year.

Yesterday (Wednesday 16 March), an internal Pizza Express committee that decides how tips should be allocated voted to scrap the controversial rule, which handed higher paid kitchen staff half of all electronic tips received by front of house workers. 

The committee, made up of staff from across the company, was established following pressure from Unite, after Pizza Express imposed the policy last May to boost kitchen worker wages. 

In the next few weeks, the committee will set a new policy. Unite understands it will give waiting staff a larger proportion of tips, which make up a significant part of their incomes.   

Unite members at Pizza Express are demanding a return to the 70/30 split between waiters and kitchen staff that was in place before the pandemic. They are also calling for the company to match front of house pay with rates set by the Living Wage Foundation.  

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This decision is long overdue and a welcome change. Pizza Express waiters have been fighting this ill-thought out, unpopular and unfair tipping policy for over a year and have faced massive internal pressure from the company to stay silent and accept it. 

“The committee's overwhelming vote, decided by both front and back of house workers, has vindicated their long struggle for fair tips. The focus now will be on establishing a tipping policy that is fair and proportionate for all – and to continue the fight for fair pay.”

Unite service sector organiser, Janet MacLeod, who has supported the workers throughout the dispute, said: “The workers represented on the committee include kitchen staff, who despite knowing they would lose money voted to change the policy because of how unfair it was on minimum wage waiting staff. 

“In spite of management hostility, our members hard work resulted in the committee being established and the case being successfully made against an atrocious policy that took away a significant amount of Pizza Express’ lowest paid workers’ incomes. The work will now continue to ensure fair tips at Pizza Express and a fair wage for all staff.”

ENDS

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.