Welcoming Dail vote on ‘Tip Theft’ bill, Unite urges Government not to impede legislation

Brendan Ogle pays tribute to determination of workers

June 20th: Unite today welcomed the Dail vote in favour of the National Minimum Wage (Protection of Employee Tips) Bill 2017.  The bill aims to tackle so-called ‘tip theft’ in the hospitality sector, a practice which has attracted political and media attention in recent months following revelations that staff working in the prestigious Ivy restaurant have had tips withheld.

Commenting, Unite Senior Officer Brendan Ogle said:

“Poverty pay and abusive practices have long been rife in the hospitality sector, where workers rely on tips to survive.  Some restaurants have been relying on a legal loophole to use workers’ tips close the gap between the Minimum Wage and a worker’s contracted pay rate – effectively forcing workers to subsidise their own low pay.

“Unite first called for legislation to close this loophole back in April, and since then political pressure to address this issue has mounted – thanks in no small part to the determination of workers themselves, such as former Ivy server and Unite member Julia Marciniak, together with politicians, trade unionists and activists.  In this regard, Joan Collins TD has been tireless in pursuing this issue, and the campaign mounted by Communities Against Low Pay has kept the issue in the public eye.

“Earlier this week, together with Julia Marciniak, I spoke at a press conference organised by Joan Collins in support of Senator Paul Gavan’s proposed legislation, and I am glad that the Dail has now voted in favour of this bill.

“Now I would urge the Government not to tie the bill up in Committee and, in particular, not to carry out their implied threat to use the ‘money message’ veto against it.

“Rogue employment practices are bad for workers and bad for the economy as a whole.  I hope that all parties will put partisanship aside and work together to ensure this legislation is enacted without delay so that this particular abuse, at least, is stamped out”, Mr Ogle concluded.

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