Restaurants will be banned from taking money from workers’ tips

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High street restaurant chains like Prezzo, Strada and Zizzi will be forced to hand over all tips to their staff, Theresa May has announced.

New laws will stop employers making deductions from the money left for their staff by diners, the Prime Minister said.

It comes after public dismay about the way some companies dealt with staff tips, with some keeping back cash.

Zizzi social media training
Zizzi is reported to have taken 8% of staff tips (David Parry/PA)

Casual Dining Group, which owns Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, insisted its staff kept all cash tips and 97.5% of credit card tips.

Workers at TGI Fridays restaurants staged a series of strikes earlier this year in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unite at some of the American chain’s restaurants were protesting over a decision to redirect some tips paid on credit cards from waiting staff to boost the low wages of kitchen workers, as well as “numerous alleged breaches” of the minimum wage and contractual entitlements.

TGI Fridays worker strike
Workers from TGI Fridays went on strike in a dispute over pay (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mrs May said the reforms, which apply across England, Scotland and Wales, are part of the Government’s work to crack down on exploitative employment practices.

She said: “The unemployment rate under this Government is now the lowest since the 1970s – but we want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace.

“That’s why we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions.

“It’s another way we are building an economy that works for everyone.”

Labour accused the Tories of copying their policies.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “This is now the fourth policy the Tories have copied from us at their conference, as they desperately try to catch up with Labour. It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.

“It’s a shame that Unite have had to fight so hard to extract this concession from the Tories.”

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “This step in tackling tipping abuses has been a long time coming and is in no small part down to the determined campaigning of Unite and its members. As ever the devil will be in the detail of the legislation the Government brings forward.

“There will be question marks as to whether it will deal with the myriad of scams some restaurants use to pilfer staff tips to boost their profits, in addition to dealing with unjust situation at TGI Fridays, who use tips left for waiting staff to subsidise the low wages of skilled kitchen staff.

“Unite will be seeking assurances from ministers that the legislation the Government introduces truly delivers fair tips for some of the lowest paid workers in the UK and that it is done so in a timely manner.”

A spokesman for Casual Dining Group said: “We are very disappointed by inaccurate and ill-informed comments by Government.

“Our staff keep 100% of cash tips, and 97.5% of credit card tips, after a 2.5% administration charge to cover credit card and banking administration charges. Our staff are at the heart of our business, and are well paid.

“Our policy on tips is in line with Government-sponsored guidance issued in 2009 and which was approved by Unite and HMRC.”

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