Commenting on prime minister Theresa May’s pledge to finally ban deductions from workers’ tips, Unite the union has said ‘the devil will be in the detail’.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “This step in tackling tipping abuses has been a long time coming and is in no small part down to the determined campaigning of Unite and its members. As ever the devil will be in the detail of the legislation the government brings forward.

“There will be question marks as to whether it will deal with the myriad of scams some restaurants use to pilfer staff tips to boost their profits, in addition to dealing with an unjust situation at TGI Fridays, which uses tips left for waiting staff to subsidise the low wages of skilled kitchen staff.

“Unite will be seeking assurances from ministers that the legislation the government introduces truly delivers fair tips for some of the lowest paid workers in the UK and that it is done so in a timely manner.”

It has taken the government 826 days to make this announcement and in that time Unite has continued to expose rip off tip scams across the UK hospitality industry, where a lack of transparency and confusion around tipping persists.

Most recently workers at TGI Fridays - members of Unite - have taken eight days of strike action since May over the company’s decision to redistribute 40 per cent of waiting staff tips to the kitchen team, with just two days’ notice - a move that has cost these low paid waitresses around £65 per week in lost wages.

TGI Fridays’ decision to redirect tips from front to back of house staff was driven by the need to boost kitchen staff wages where chronic low wages had led to a high staff turnover crisis, and not from a desire for these workers’ to receive a ‘fair share’, as it has claimed.

It is unclear whether the government’s legislation will address this kind of situation where employers use tips as an additional income source to supplement low wages, or any of the other tipping abuses that employers use to pocket staff tips.


For more information please contact Chantal Chegrinec on 020 3371 2063 or 07774 146 777 or Bryan Simpson (Scotland) on 07891 118390

Notes to editors:

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey