Workers in some of the UK’s most prominent restaurant chains, including Pizza Express, Carluccio’s and Café Rouge, are being ripped off by unscrupulous bosses who use staff tips to subsidise low pay.
The catering sector, already notorious for low pay, poor conditions and long hours, is cynically involved in even worse exploitation of its workforce by using credit card tips to top up wages as low as £2 an hour to make the minimum wage.
Another trick used is to charge staff an “administration fee” on tips added to card transactions. The cost of using the card (between 1% and 2% of the bill) should be met by the restaurant, but the bosses pass that cost on to their workers, who are largely foreign, young and inexperienced. They can easily be threatened with the sack if they tell customers that the bosses keep credit card tips.
The Unite union has a campaign to close the legal loophole where tips count as wages. So far the Government have done nothing but promise a vague “consultation”.
Restaurant workers - organise to fight against this theft. Together tell the bosses that you will not stand for tips to top up pay, that you should get the minimum wage (or more!) regardless of tips and credit card tips should be shared out equally amongst staff. Make your demands together, stick together you will achieve more than by making individual complaints.
As for customers – tip directly, in cash. Don’t allow your appreciation to feed the boss’s greed.