Waiters at American restaurant chain TGI Friday’s who are members of the trade union Unite are undertaking 24-hour strike action today (Friday 25 May 2018) in a dispute over tip policy and minimum wage non-compliance.
Today’s industrial action is taking place across four TGI Friday’s branches, including the Covent Garden and Haymarket Piccadilly restaurants in London, the Trafford Centre branch in Manchester and TGI Friday’s Milton Keynes restaurant.
According to Unite, the dispute concerns the use of unpaid trial shifts, minimum wage non-compliance, and the organisation taking 40% of waiters’ tips from card payments to redistribute to kitchen staff in lieu of providing a pay rise.
The changes to TGI Friday’s tip policy is estimated to cost minimum wage employees £250 a month in lost wages, according to Unite.
The trade union stated that waiting staff over the age of 25 earn £7.83 an hour, and waiters aged between 18 and 20 earn £5.90 an hour, with tips typically used to boost these incomes.
TGI Friday’s ranked third on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) March 2018 minimum wage non-compliance list for failing to pay 2,302 employees a total of £59,347.64.
Unite is seeking fairer pay arrangements for all TGI Friday’s employees.
Dave Turnbull, regional officer at Unite, said: “It’s shocking that not only have kitchen staff wages not risen in the last four years, they actually appear to have fallen. TGI Friday’s should be paying [employees] a wage they can live on, not robbing the tips from one group of low waged [employees] to pay off another.
“Kitchen staff used to be paid more, in recognition of their skill, but the gap has narrowed since the introduction of the government’s national living wage in 2016. TGI Friday’s needs to pay all staff fairly and dig into its own pockets, instead of robbing the tips from Peter to pay Paul.
“This isn’t about minimum wage servers not wanting to share with their kitchen colleagues. It’s about [an organisation] whose shareholders have become so greedy that they no longer want to pay their hardworking staff anything above the bare minimum.
“This strike is about more than tips. It’s about challenging bad practice by a profitable, hedge fund owned [organisation]. It’s about exposing alleged minimum wage abuses and saying enough to being cheated out of money that is rightfully owed.”
TGI Friday’s was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.