TGI Fridays hit with strikes over tipping row

TGI Fridays, the American-style restaurant chain, faced its fourth Friday of strikes yesterday, as members of Unite vow to keep striking in their dispute over tips and alleged minimum wage abuses.

Next week workers are planning to deliver a letter to the business secretary Greg Clark outlining concerns that employers, like TGI Fridays, are continuing to use credit card tips left by customers as a tactic to drive down pay, two years after the government promised action to crackdown on ‘rip off’ tip scams.

In 2016 the government pledged to investigate reports that companies were using shady practices to skirt existing minimum wage legislation, with then Buissness sectetary Sajid Javid stating that he was "disappointed by the tipping practices of some of our well-known chains. This has to change.

He went on to say that the government would "look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary."

However Unions have slammed the lack of action over the issue.

Unite has warned TGI Fridays that it will keep up the pressure on both the company and the government until new rules are introduced to stamp out exploitative tip and other scams in the UK’s restaurant industry.

Unite officer Dave Turnbull said: “TGI Fridays needs to realise that our members will not back down and that Unite is right by their side in the fight for fair pay and tips.

“The company’s refusal to sit down with staff representatives to agree a way forward is damaging the brand’s reputation. Its failure to recognise the hardship caused by its decision to take 40 per cent of their tips paid on a card is deeply hurtful and insulting.

“It has become clear to Unite that TGI Fridays introduced this tip policy change to claw back the cost of the rises in the government’s national living wage (currently £7.83 an hour for over 25 year olds) and to avoid paying kitchen staff a proper wage.

“Evidence provided to Unite shows that the company have been less than truthful in claiming all kitchen staff have received a pay rise. From what we have seen the rates for kitchen workers are now lower than they were in 2014.

“TGI Fridays is not the only ones to do this, which is why the government needs to act to stop rogue bosses, like TGI Fridays, abusing tips and exploiting loopholes to cheat low waged staff out of the money they’re rightfully owed.

“That’s why we’re calling on the business secretary to publish the report on tipping. Because if it doesn’t, companies like TGI Fridays, will keep using tips and manipulating the systems used to distribute tips internally to ‘rip off’ workers and customers alike, as well as undermining the government’s national living wage.”

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