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'Rotten' restaurant tipping laws need Government action, warns Unite

By Sophie Witts , 12-Feb-2016
Last updated on 12-Feb-2016 at 13:21 GMT2016-02-12T13:21:19Z

'Rotten' restaurant tipping laws need Government action, warns Unite

Trade Union Unite has told the Government to stop ‘dragging its feet’ over tackling the ‘dubious tipping practices’ of major restaurant chains.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid launched an investigation in to the ‘abuse of tipping’ in the sector in September after it emerged that some high street restaurant chains were taking a cut of staff tips.

But Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said the Government was being too slow in tackling the ‘rotten’ system.

"The tipping abuse scandal rocking the country’s hospitality industry shows no signs of abating,” he said.

“The business secretary Sajid Javid, made all the right noises in the heat of last summer’s tipping abuse scandal when he launched an investigation into the murky world of tips and service charges. But three months after it closed in early November we are still no closer to the much needed crack-down.” 

It comes a week after Unite staged a protest at the upmarket STK London steakhouse at the ME Hotel amid claims the restaurant was using its 15 per cent service charge to top up the salaries of four senior managers by as much as £50k a year.

“Customers are outraged to learn that their tips and service charge payments are not being paid to waiting and kitchen staff, but are used to fund everything from managers’ bonuses to breakages,” said McCarthy.

“Customers crave transparency, as do the minimum-waged staff who serve them, but they aren’t getting it under the current rotten system.”

Unite are calling for the Government to enforce rules giving staff full control over how tips are distributed.

McCarthy said: “Javid needs to take action to clamp down on rogue restaurant and hotel bosses.

“We are calling on him to deliver his report and implement clear and mandatory rules giving staff 100 per cent ownership rights over tips with control over how they are shared out. A failure to do so will give rogue bosses free reign to continue to find ways to dip into tips.”

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