Hospitality: Unite meets with Tanaiste’s officials to discuss service charges

Service charges must go to those providing the service

“Unclear policy is usually unfair” says Unite General Secretary

April 24th: Unite, which represents hospitality workers throughout Ireland, recently met with officials in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to discuss the union’s outstanding concerns regarding the Payment of Wages (Tips and Gratuities) (Amendment) Bill 2022. 

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “Where tips policy is unclear it usually means it is also unfair, and it hits this workforce hard in the wallet.  We estimate that hospitality staff lose thousands a year in lost earnings when their tips go elsewhere.

“Unite is determined to change this appalling state of affairs.  It’s time for the Irish government and the hospitality sector to step up too”.

Unite Hospitality Coordinator Julia Marciniak attended the meeting and said:

“As the union representing hospitality workers, Unite appreciated the invitation to meet with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar’s officials to discuss our members’ concerns. 

“During the meeting, we reiterated our view that any lack of clarity on the ultimate destination of service charges would deter customers from leaving tips, thus boosting employers’ profits at the expense of workers and customers”.

Karen Doyle is secretary of Unite’s Hospitality Branch and was also at the meeting. She added:

“Customers assume that service charges are just that:  payments in recognition of the service provided by servers. 

“The forthcoming legislation must therefore ensure that any charges labelled ‘service charges’ are distributed solely to the workers providing the service”.

Continuing, Julia Marciniak said:

“By amending the legislation to clarify that service charges must be distributed solely to workers, the Government has an opportunity not only to raise the living standards of low-paid hospitality workers but also to boost consumer confidence in the sector.

“Unite welcomed the opportunity to put forward our views, which we hope will be reflected in the final text of the Bill”, Ms Marciniak concluded.

Note: The position of Unite’s Hospitality Branch on service charges is available here

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