Workers at TGI Fridays restaurants, who have taken four days of strike action over tips and minimum wage abuses, will deliver a letter to the business secretary, Greg Clark at the department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) in London tomorrow (12 June), warning that the government’s failure to crackdown on tipping abuses as promised, has let rogue bosses off the hook. 

Bruce the burger - the TGI Fridays’ strikers official mascot -will be on hand to deliver the letter.  

WHEN: Tuesday 12 June 2018 at 11:00 

WHERE: Department of Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills (BEIS), 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET 

The action comes two days after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed that hospitality workers will keep 100 per cent of tips left by customers, under a Labour government. 

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has warned that the government’s failure to act on tipping abuses, as promised nearly two years ago when its consultation on tips closed (27 June 2016), has left the door wide open for rogue bosses, including TGI Fridays to exploit.  

In the letter, the members of Unite, outline how TGI Fridays decision earlier this year to redistribute 40 per cent of cent tips paid on a card from waiting staff to the kitchen teams – a move that it costing waiters £250 a month in lost wages – is about the company clawing back the cost of increases to the national living wage and has left them worse off.  

Unite has vowed to keep up the pressure and will be informing TGI Fridays of its intention to hold a consultative ballot of all union members from across the chain’s 82 restaurants as part of plans to broaden the strike action. 

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “Despite the government’s well-publicised ‘investigation’ and subsequent consultation into tipping abuses which closed nearly two years ago on 27 June 2016, nothing has been done.  

“Rogue bosses like TGI Fridays are being let off the hook to abuse tips and exploit government/HMRC guidelines (E24) on tips and troncs, to boost their own profits and offset the cost of the government’s pay rise to low earners.   

“How can it be right, that some of the country’s lowest paid workers are worse off now than they were three years ago when the government’s flagship national living wage (NLW) policy was first introduced?  

“Workers at TGI Fridays have already had time and a half payments for working bank holidays axed and free staff meals scrapped since the NLW was introduced three years ago. When the company announced a 40 per cent cut to their tips early this year, they said ‘enough.’ 

“The government’s failure to act is fostering exploitation and industrial unrest. It is also leading to higher staff turnover and skill shortages and is hampering Unite’s efforts to work with the industry on a voluntary code of practice on fairness and transparency.  

“Unite is demanding that the business secretary, Greg Clark, stop dragging his feet and take action on tips. Labour has promised to deliver justice for hospitality workers, showing that it really is on the side of working people, the government needs to do better.”  

ENDS  

For more information please contact Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777. 

 Note to editors 

Workers at TGI Fridays workers at four restaurants in Milton Keynes Stadium, the Trafford Centre Greater Manchester, and London’s Covent Garden and Haymarket Piccadilly have staged four 24-hour strikes on four Fridays in a row from 18 May 2018.  

Troncs are widely used in the restaurant industry to distribute non-cash tips (eg tips paid on a card) and service charge payments to staff. Tips paid via a tronc may not be subject to national insurance contributions.  

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

 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.