Bank holiday walk-out to highlight tips `robbery'

Workers at two TGI Fridays restaurants in Milton Keynes and Covent Garden in London will walkout for a historic fifth time, with workers at Stratford City in London, joining the action for the first time in an ongoing dispute over the company’s refusal to address concerns over tips and minimum wage abuses.

The workers, members of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, voted by a 100 per cent on turnouts of between 52.4 – 76.5 per cent in a second industrial action ballot. 

Three days of strikes will start on Friday 24 August, the beginning of the bank holiday weekend.

The restaurant chain, which has 81 restaurants across the UK, recently awarded its CEO Karen Forrester a 40 per cent pay rise while its minimum-waged waiting staff were left £250 a month poorer after it 40 per cent of their card tips were snatched. 

The long running dispute arose when the company introduced a new tipping policy in January with only two days’ notice which would see money earned by the waiting staff redirected to top up the low wages of kitchen staff, a move the company claims is driven by the need to stop the high turnover of kitchen staff.  

Unite will continue to make the case for action in these branches to stop the bad practice across the entire business and is urging the company to work with the union to find a sensible solution to this dispute.  

 Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said:  “Despite facing intense pressure from the company not to strike, our brave members in these three restaurants are taking a stand to stop the bad practice across the entire business. 

“It takes immense courage to take on a hedge-funded owed, multi-million company like TGI Fridays but the support that our members have had from the public has been great.  Customers do not appreciate the deception.  They left their tips for the staff and that is where they should go.

"This is a company that thinks it can just shrug off our members' concerns and ignore approaches from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration service Acas with no thought as to the hardship it is causing.  

The waiting staff are now around £60 a week worse off, which is a lot of money when your hourly pay rate is £7.83 or just £5.90 for those aged under 20. And it is a disgraceful act given that the CEO has recently been awarded a pay boost of £105,420.  

 “We urge TGI Friday’s to work with us to find a better way forward. We are ready to talk to find a sensible solution to this dispute but TGI Friday’s must recognise the distress and hardship its decision has caused, and start rebuilding trust.”


For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777