In February TGI Friday’s proposed redistributing 40% of all tips received on credit or debit cards to back-of-house staff.
Unite says the move has angered workers on both sides of the pass, and claims that the 81-strong company is using tips to top of the wages of kitchen staff instead of giving them a pay rise.
The practice is prohibited by Unite’s Fair Hospitality Charter, which TGI Friday’s is signed up to.
TGI Friday’s denied the claims and told BigHospitality in February that the changes followed discussions with a “large segment of team members” and “research in to industry norms”.
Now Unite says it will ballot staff in the group’s Covent Garden and Milton Keynes branches for strike action on 18 April, while a protest will be held outside the Covent Garden site on 13 April.
“Our members are bravely fighting back against a system that forces workers to live on low pay and without income security,” says Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull.
“They have decided to ballot for strike action in a wave of rolling strike ballots over the coming months because their employer has refused to address their concerns on tips and other issues.”
Earlier this week the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union notified McDonald’s UK it was planning to ballot its members for strike action to call for higher pay.
In 2016 a Government report recommended that all restaurant tips should go directly to staff, yet there has been no further action on the issue from MPs.
Operators including Bella Italia and PizzaExpress stopped charging an administration fee on staff tips, which was used to cover the costs of running a tronc system, in 2015 after public backlash over the practice.