Waiters at Carluccio’s are joining Unite after the firm introduced a tipping policy that will leave some staff up to £400 a month worse off.
The scandal emerged a year after former Prime Minister Theresa May promised to introduce legislation, which has failed to materialise, to end hospitality employers unfairly deducting staff tips.
The Italian restaurant chain has forced through changes that mean a proportion of the tips hard working staff are given by customers are siphoned off to senior managers.
“It’s a massive pay cut for waiters, especially when floor hours are being dropped as well,” said one staff member.
Previously staff pocketed 65 per cent of tips paid by debit and credit card, with the remainder shared between bar and kitchen staff.
Under the new system, tips are worked out according to the amount of hours worked and are also distributed to managers.
Staff members are angry because the policy benefits managers more because they often work more hours.
Carluccio’s is the latest in a number of major restaurant chains to face a backlash over its tipping policies, including TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut, Zizzi’s and Café Rouge, following the Unite-led “Fair Tips” campaign highlighting rip off tip scams.
Last year, the issue came to the attention of Theresa May, who promised to ban firms taking their staffs’ tips.
Despite the promise, legislation to end the practice has still not been introduced by the government. Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said the union is concerned at the growing trend of employers pitting low waged workers against each other by bringing in new tipping policies in a bid to supplement low wages.
Turnbull added that Carluccio’s tipping policy is “grossly unfair”.
“Cutting a workers’ income in half over night and without notice is reckless and inhumane,” he said.
“To be clear under the previous policy our waiting staff members at Carluccio’s shared 35 per cent of their card tips with back of house staff and they were happy with this.
“We are urging the government to introduce the legislation it promised a year ago today at last year’s Conservative party conference to end unfair practices of this kind.”