October 1st: Unite hospitality members in Northern Ireland plan day of solidarity with strikers in McDonald’s, Witherspoon’s and TGIFridays this Thursday [October 4th]
Exploitation in hospitality sector is so pervasive that Conservative government has been forced under pressure to legislate to end theft of staff tips
Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, called for clarity on whether legislation to make illegal the deduction of staff tips by bosses would extend to Northern Ireland.
“This announcement will come as long-overdue but welcome news to hospitality workers across England, Scotland and Wales. There are many questions including whether this legislation will cover all the various scams used by bosses to steal their workers’ tips but the one in the minds of hospitality workers in Northern Ireland will be whether they face being left behind yet again as a result of the protracted political deadlock.
“It really says a lot about the pervasive nature of exploitation in the UK hospitality sector that it requires the legislative intervention of the Tories to put a stop to the theft of staff tips but no one should be fooled that the Conservative government is bringing forward this law because they care about working class people; the reality is that they have been forced to take this action by the huge pressure that has been building up over this issue.
“Legislation alone will never be enough to prevent exploitation in the workplace – only trade union strength can force bosses to end the exploitation of their employees. Unite’s ambition for hospitality workers is that their pay rates are good enough that they don’t have to rely on their tips for decent standard of living”, Ms Fitzgerald said.
Responding to the news, hospitality worker and Unite activist, Neil Moore, highlighted his union’s ongoing efforts to raise the bar for staff in the hospitality sector:
“Hospitality workers in Northern Ireland will be demanding that this legislation be extended to Northern Ireland when it is adopted in England, Scotland and Wales. We don’t want to be left behind again as a result of political failure.
“The Conservative party has brought forward this legislation under pressure. Unite the union has been at the fore of efforts to highlight the theft of staff tips by bosses. Our efforts in challenging the exploitation by bosses of hospitality employees will continue – we need to see action on far more issues than just making sure 100% of tips go to workers.
“This Thursday hospitality workers and Unite activists here will be bringing forward a day of solidarity action with the historic coordinated strike action being taken in McDonald’s, Witherspoon’s and TGIFridays. We can’t afford to rely on the Tory government – the only way for hospitality workers to raise the bar is through being part of a fighting union like Unite”, Mr Moore concluded.