TGI Fridays Manchester staff met with shadow chancellor John McDonnell today (June 1), during their third 24-hour strike over a new tipping policy that will see workers lose up to £250 a month.
TGI Fridays employees at four branches – in Manchester, Milton Keynes and London – are striking over a new policy that will see waiting staff on the minimum wage lose 40 per cent of their tips in order to top up the pay of kitchen staff.
While waiting staff are supportive of their colleagues receiving a pay rise, they are angry that the profitable firm is attempting to use their tips to do so.
McDonnell met with TGI Fridays workers in Manchester to offer his support.
He said, “Solidarity with TGI Fridays workers on strike against waiting staff tips being used to top up the wages of kitchen staff.
“This move sees the wages of already poorly paid waiting staff falling by up to £250 a month.
“Labour stands for fair pay and respect in the workplace. TGI Fridays workers from The Trafford Centre in Manchester, and those across the country, have my 100 per cent support in their fight.”
Unite regional officer Andrena Clarke said members had been heartened by McDonnell’s support and said the meeting with the shadow chancellor had been “really positive”.
She said, “The staff are young people and are very enthusiastic about fighting for their rights. Meeting John McDonnell today was a massive boost for them. He said he is fully supportive of us and said he is going to write to the company and help build up as much support as possible.
“They were already on a high about taking the campaign forward but they said this has really provided that extra impetus to get more people involved.”
Clarke said the Manchester protest, which was held at the Trafford Centre, also elicited a lot of support from members of the public.
Public distaste at the firm’s behaviour is also reflected in a recent YouGov poll that showed its brand impression score (whether someone has a positive impression of a brand) has taken a hit since February, when reports of the company’s decision first hit the headlines.
Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said, “TGI Fridays and restaurant chains like it are risking their brands’ reputation if they don’t get their houses in order and start paying staff a wage they can live on and treating them with respect.
“With the chain’s owner, Electra, putting itself up for sale, the time has come for common sense to prevail.”
Commenting on the strike, a TGI waitress of 15 years, said, “Tips are a gesture of good will from our guests to thank us for our service . This is not something that should be taken from us when we are living on minimum wage and have families to support. Taking this cut drops our wages for the year by over £2,500.
“Today is about fighting for what is right and making a stand to show we aren’t being taken for granted anymore and we are not here to pay for someone else’s pay rise.”
Find out the latest about today’s TGI Fridays strikes, both in Manchester and in London, at #AllEyesonTGIs.