Tough new laws are being demanded to stop unscrupulous restaurant bosses pocketing tips intended for staff.
Campaigners say about 1.6 million hospitality workers are being left out of pocket as up to two-thirds of employers in the sector take a share of customer gratuities.
It comes after we revealed last week that The River Cafe, a London haunt of supermodels Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid, does not share its optional 12.5 per cent service charge with waiters and waitresses – instead it guarantees them the higher rate London Living Wage.
Restaurant owners are banned from keeping cash tips left for waiting staff, but there is nothing to stop them taking a cut when the bill is settled by debit or credit card, which has become increasingly popular as cash use was discouraged in the pandemic.
In 2019, the Government announced plans to introduce an Allocation of Tips Bill to ‘promote fairness for workers by creating legal obligations on employers to pass on all tips to workers in full and, where they distribute tips among workers, to do so on a fair and transparent basis’.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But there has been no legislation.
Campaigners say about 1.6 million hospitality workers are being left out of pocket as up to two-thirds of employers in the sector take a share of customer gratuities
Union chiefs at Unite have written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warning that the fall in cash payments and employers ‘interfering’ with tips has created a ‘perfect storm’ that has wiped out recent rises in the Living Wage and Minimum Wage.
Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said: ‘Waiting staff, the majority of whom are on the minimum wage, keep being promised jam tomorrow by the Government but in the meantime they continue to be let down by unscrupulous employers.
‘Not only must the Government finally bring forward fair tips legislation, but it must ensure that it is sufficiently robust to prevent it being undermined through loopholes.
'Unless action is taken, there will continue to be a recruitment crisis in the sector.’
Pizza Express faced a backlash last month after it was revealed that the chain skimmed off waiters’ tips so it could pay more kitchen workers.
Unite said workers would lose an average of £2,000 a year.
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We revealed last week that The River Cafe, a London haunt of supermodels Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid, does not share its optional 12.5 per cent service charge with waiters and waitresses
A Pizza Express spokesman said the decision was made in February last year and added: ‘The UK went into lockdown in March 2020 and our restaurants closed before this could be implemented.
'The committee decided instead to implement it from 17 May 2021, as restaurants reopened again.’
Responding to the River Cafe revelations, interior designer and socialite Nicky Haslam last night said: ‘I think very few restaurants can ever do fairness unless they put tips in one pot and share it out. I like to give tips to the actual waiter.’
We must change this system – it’s as murky as Scotch broth
By Tom Parker Bowles for the Mail on Sunday
I am a man in thrall to restaurants. They are my life, my love, and, as a critic, my living, too.
Because at best, they’re so much more than mere dining rooms – rather, places to celebrate,