Waiting tables is among the UK’s worst paid jobs, the work is hard and the hours unsociable. Most waiters earn the national minimum wage of just £6.70 p/h and rely heavily on tips to boost their meagre earnings. Today I am announcing my support of Unite’s Fair Tips Campaign and will be writing to every restaurant across Salford and Eccles to seek support for this campaign.
The tipping abuse scandal in the UK hospitality industry and the campaign to get a fair tips policy for waiting staff calls on businesses up and down the country to follow the trend and allow workers to keep 100% of the tips that they earn. I support this campaign and look toward moving Salford to being a city where 100% of restaurant and hotels across the city allow their waiting staff to keep all of their tips.
Over the summer Unite, Britain’s biggest union, launched a campaign to get Pizza Express to drop the 8 per cent ‘admin fee’ it takes from staff tips paid by card. Other restaurants such as Ask, Strada, Café Rouge, Belgo, Bella Italia and Zizzi were all revealed to deduct between 8 and 10 per cent from staff credit card tips as an admin fee they claimed was to cover the cost of running the company’s tronc system or electronic tips pool. However taking money off minimum-waged waiting staff simply to process and distribute card tips through the payroll, the cost of which is very minimal, left a very bad taste in people’s mouths, not to mention that it is covered by the National Insurance tax break employers receive anyway.
As a direct result of this summer’s public backlash, Pizza Express backed down, announcing that it would drop its admin fee and hand 100 per cent of credit card tips to staff in future. Giraffe, Ask, Zizzi and most recently the Casual Dining Group, owners of Bella Italia, Belgo and Café Rouge have all said they too will scrap the fee since the campaign was launched.
Unfortunately there are still many restaurants and hotels that are unfairly taking a percentage of the tips that waiting staff receive and the government needs to get a grip on the scandal themselves. It’s clear that too many businesses are skimming off staff tips and getting around current regulations that were put in place to bring justice to restaurant workers. Business Secretary, Sajid Javid has to urgently intervene and use his investigation to stamp out these rip off practices once and for all. But what we in Salford can do is put pressure on the restaurants and hotels that are not giving their staff 100% of their tips, asking businesses what their current policy is and push them to make changes. So that when we tip our waiting staff for their service they receive 100% of the tips we give.