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To: Greg Clark MP: Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Tips are for staff not employers

Stop unethical hospitality bosses taking a cut of tips and service charges. Publish the recommendations of the government’s consultation on tipping now. Beef up the 2009 industry code of best practice and give it legal teeth.

Why is this important?

What do celebrity chef, Michel Roux Jr, Harrods and the Queen’s Grocer Fortnum and Mason have in common?

They have all (in the last few months) been caught with their hands in the tips’ jar, a full 18 months after the government vowed to stamp out similar rip off tip scams.

The three iconic establishments were revealed to be pocketing some or all of the service charge, rather than giving staff a fair share, often without customers’ knowledge. Now celebrity haunts the Ivy - where dinner for two costs at least £200 - has been exposed for giving staff just £1.30 per hour of the 12.5 per cent service charge it automatically adds to bills to its minimum waged staff.

Unite members working in the UK hospitality industry are fed up of waiting for their fair tips. Diners want to know that the service charge or non-cash tip they have just paid is going to the low paid staff that served them and is not being pocketed by the company to do what they like with.

After an eight-month review into tipping abuses, the government said: ‘Tips should go to workers, not employers’, so why are waiters and kitchen staff still waiting?

It’s time for the government to close the legal loophole which allows employers to treat non-cash tips and service charges as restaurant revenue without any legal obligation to pass it on to staff.

We are calling on the government to publish the recommendations of its consultation on tipping, gratuities, cover and service charges which closed on the 26 June 2016, and:

- Make the code mandatory – the 2009 voluntary code of best practice has utterly failed to bring greater transparency and fairness to tipping. Employers can no longer be trusted to police their tipping policies. Clear and mandatory rules around tipping and the distribution of tips are needed to stamp out rip off tip and service charge scams.

- Ban bogus tronc schemes –Too many employers are using tronc schemes to pool and distribute non-cash tips and service charges which are not genuinely independent from management interference. The government needs to get behind and support the jointly endorsed (Unite/AMLR Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers) guidelines to stamp out bogus troncs.

- Give staff 100% ownership rights over tips with a say in how they are shared out.

- Ban employers from using non-cash tips and service charges to cover breakages, till shortages, admin fees, and customers doing a runner.

Reasons for signing

  • Because I reply on my tips to pay for my travel & rent. Its unfare we only take £1 per hour on top of what our hourly salary is when theres some bills that come up to £35 service charge.. I think tips should go direcrly to the waiter/waitress and not most if it to management.
  • Tips are to show gratitude for exceptional service to be shared by the waiting and kitchen staff !
  • It is the right thing to do.


2017-04-02 17:17:00 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2017-03-31 13:40:15 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2017-03-24 15:44:19 +0000

500 signatures reached

2017-03-13 21:43:12 +0000

100 signatures reached

2017-03-13 17:48:28 +0000

50 signatures reached

2017-03-13 14:15:27 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-03-13 12:14:40 +0000

10 signatures reached

2017-03-13 10:09:17 +0000

------ Ivy restaurant spin-off accused of hogging service charge ------

A chain of restaurants spun out of the prestigious London celebrity haunt the Ivy has been accused of failing to give waiters and kitchen staff their fair share of the money diners pay in service charges.

The Ivy Collection, which owns eight restaurants, hands ordinary waiters and chefs only £1.30 an hour in “commission” on top of the £7.20 an hour minimum wage no matter how much is collected from the service charge, according to staff and the Unite union.

2017-02-20 15:57:36 +0000

The Queen’s grocer Fortnum & Mason is trying to persuade more of its staff to accept a big cut in basic pay in return for a share of tips in a move that will help reduce its tax bill.

The retailer, which recently announced a 27% rise in pre-tax profit to £6.2m in the year to July, currently does not share with staff any of the 12.5% service charge automatically added to bills paid by drinkers at its Heathrow bar.

2017-02-20 15:44:28 +0000

Unite has been exposing rip-off tipping practices in the hospitality industry since 2008. Last summer we turned the spotlight on Pizza Express by putting pressure on the popular chain to scrap the 8 per cent admin fee it was taking from staff tips paid on a card.

Because of our campaign and widespread media attention many popular chain vowed to scrap their admin fees.