Union turns “fair tip” campaign to other restaurants

Pizza ExpressUnite is today celebrating the first win in its campaign to stop restaurants pocketing staffs’ tips.

Employers such as Pizza Express, Ask Italian, Prezzo, Belgo, Strada, Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Zizzi levy an 8% admin fee on tips paid by credit card, leaving staff out of pocket.

Now Pizza Express has announced it will scrap the fee, meaning the entire tip will be given to staff. The union will now be turning its attention to other restaurant companies.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “First of all, I would like to thank our Pizza Express members for the very brave stand they have made against a powerful multi-national company.

“Against the odds, they have breached the wall of bad practice that has surrounded tipping policy in the UK for far too long. We have been proud to represent them and this shows that with your union by your side you can obtain justice.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s good to hear that Pizza Express has finally come to its senses. The decision by the company to ditch its unfair tips policy is a great victory for the staff and for the strong campaign led by Unite.

“The only fair tips policy is one where 100% of customer tips go to the staff with no deductions by the employer. And the public agrees.

“This is proof of what can be achieved when people stand together and challenge bad employment practices – positive change can be achieved in the workplace. This is why everyone should be in a trade union, to get their voice heard and their interests represented at work.”

Dave Turnbull added: “Unite welcomes the long overdue decision by Pizza Express to scrap its unfair tax on tips. With our membership we will be closely monitoring the implementation of the new policy to ensure it is both fair and transparent.

“The tronc system – the method used to process and distribute card tips through the payroll – needs a radical, modernising overhaul.

“To ensure the process of allocating tips is wholly independent from employers we want to see new guidance on tronc schemes that ensure only waiting staff themselves are eligible to hold positions, such as tronc ‘master’ and on the tronc committee.

“Also such officers should be nominated and elected by staff and are obligated to consult widely with all staff before contemplating any future changes to the distribution and share of tips.



“The campaign really caught the public’s imagination. Almost 10,000 people signed a petition calling for the company’s unfair tipping policy to be scrapped.

“People were outraged that the hugely popular, family favourite pizza chain had been skimming a proportion of its staff’s hard earned tips.

“Waiting staff are among the UK’s worst paid employees. Pizza Express waiting and kitchen staff are paid the national minimum wage of just £6.50 per hour – no matter how long they’ve worked for the company.

“They are heavily reliant on customer tips to top up their low pay – so yesterday’s announcement will boost their income.”



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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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