‘Tips’ legislation: Unite welcomes ring-fencing of service charges for workers

Collective bargaining must now be moved up political agenda

Trade union Unite, which has campaigned to stop the practice of ‘tip theft’ in the hospitality sector, today (Wednesday) welcomed the Government’s decision to bring forward an amendment to the Payment of Wages (Tips and Gratuities) bill banning service charges in restaurants unless they go directly to staff.

Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:

“Unite welcomes the Government’s decision to bring forward this amendment.  This is the result of determined work by activists and workers in the sector, and by many others, not just in the trade union movement but also in political parties, academia and the media, who exposed the blatant injustice of tip theft and campaigned to put an end to it.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to Unite’s Julia Marciniak and Karen Doyle who worked tirelessly for this result.

“Today’s news will be welcomed by workers throughout the hospitality sector, as well as by the decent employers in the sector who already do the right thing and have to compete with operators who engage in tip theft and other abusive practices.

“However, it is now up to all of us in the trade union movement to keep the pressure on Government and ensure that this step marks the beginning rather than the end of a new era in workers’ rights in Ireland.

“The reason that tips are so important to workers in the hospitality sector is that they are the lowest-paid workers in the Irish economy.

“Rather than hospitality workers depending on tips to survive, we need to ensure that all workers are paid a decent wage.  And the best way to raise wages throughout the economy is to provide for a statutory right to collective bargaining.

“Unite will continue working to move full collective bargaining rights up the political agenda”, Mr Fitzgerald concluded.

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