Search Class

Demands For Fair Tips At TGI Fridays

American diner chain TGI Fridays are facing growing pressure not to take customer tips away from frontline restaurant staff.

Workers at the company, which has 40 outlets in Britain, have already staged a series of strikes and protests following a plan to redistribute card tips from waiters to kitchen staff in lieu of a wage increase.

Unite the Union have warned that TGI Fridays faces a ‘summer of disruption’ unless the dispute is resolved. General Secretary Len McCluskey recently joined protesters outside the Brighton Marina restaurant.

CLASS spoke to Lauren Townsend, a TGI waitress who is leading the #fairtips campaign with Unite the Union. You can watch her video, and footage of McCluskey at the Brighton protest, here:

Waiting staff say TGI Fridays should be paying kitchen staff more, but the extra money should come from profits not customer tips. Workers claim the change amounts to a 15 to 20 per cent pay cut.

Earlier this year the chain was fined for failing to pay National Minimum Wage, after staff had to pay £25 each for their black uniform shoes.

Restaurant workers in several chains are taking action to improve their rights and pay. McDonald’s workers have staged walk-outs in a ‘McStrike’ over zero hours contracts.

TGI Fridays staff have also staged strikes at restaurants around the country  after the company announced in February a new system to allocate 40 per cent of customer tips to kitchen staff.

Unite criticised the company for funding kitchen staff wages by using an untaxed card tip and said waiting staff stood to lose up to £250 per month. The company deny the decision was taken for tax reasons.

One waitress said: “I think the kitchen should have an enormous pay rise, I just don’t understand why I’m funding it. We are on the minimum wage. I don’t have money to spare at the end of the week. Why am I paying for the kitchen?

“Our cleaners are the lowest-paid people in the building but they’re not sharing tips amongst the cleaners. We couldn’t open the restaurant if they hadn’t cleaned it. They’re not sharing it with the door hosts. In no sense is this about fair pay.”

Wagamama and Los Iguanos have also faced criticism for ‘minimum wage dodging’.

Send a message to TGI Fridays boss Karen Forrester here