Promised legislation follows determined action by Unite members and campaigners
June 12th: Unite today welcomed the announcement by Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty that she will be bringing forward legislation to ensure that tips are not used to make up contractual pay rates, and called on the Minister to publish the draft Heads of the Bill before the Dail goes into recess next month.
Unite represents members working for the luxury ‘The Ivy’ restaurant which uses tips to make up the difference between the Minimum Wage and workers’ contracted pay rates.
Unite first called for legislation to close this loophole back in April. Unite Senior Officer Brendan Ogle today paid tribute to Unite members in ‘The Ivy’ who met Minister Doherty in March this year to highlight and give written testimony on this issue:
“We welcome this legislation, but our members should not have had to put their jobs on the line to have this issue addressed. Poverty pay is rife, and tip theft is used by unscrupulous employers as a low pay subsidy. Thanks to the determined action of Unite members, as well as politicians and activists such as Deputy Joan Collins, Senator Paul Gavan and the Communities Against Low Pay group which has been protesting outside ‘The Ivy’, some progress is now being made.
“But issues on the political agenda can also become political footballs. Although the Minister’s announcement on one aspect of this abuse is welcome, it is disappointing that the Government has opposed Senator Paul Gavan’s ‘Protection of Employee Tips’ bill, especially since the bill has a wider focus on the misuse of ‘service charges’.
“Unite is calling on the Minister to publish the heads of the proposed legislation before the Dail breaks for the summer. In the longer term, Unite will continue campaigning with others to ensure that hospitality work is decent work – and that bad employers are not able to undercut those businesses who do treat their workers properly in respect of pay, tips and other employment conditions.
“In hospitality as elsewhere, sharp employment practices are not only bad for workers, but also bad for the economy as a whole”, Mr Ogle concluded.
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