Workers at TGI Fridays Trafford Centre in Manchester and Haymarket in London are being balloted for strike action, as the second in a series of rolling strike ballot hits the American dining chain in a dispute over tips and minimum wage abuses.
Unite which notified the company last week of its plan to ballot workers at two restaurants a week for strike action, starting with Milton Keynes and Covent Garden in London, is urging the company to clean up its act and sit down to talk with the union.
A lunchtime protest (pictured) was held outside the Haymarket branch in London today (April 20), where dozens of Unite activists gathered to support workers in their fight for fair tips and pay.
Unite is also investigating a number of possible minimum wage abuses, including the regular use of unpaid trial shifts, not paying staff for time spent undertaking compulsory company training and other scams that cause workers to be cheated out of money they are rightfully owed.
“Our members feel badly let down,” said Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull. “It started back in January when waiters were given just two days’ notice that they’d be losing 40 per cent of their tips paid via a card. There was no consultation.
“Since then TGI Fridays management has wilfully ignored the damage caused by this decision,” he added. “It has refused to meet with workers or listen to their concerns. They just don’t seem to care that losing 40 per cent of card tips, or not paying staff for all the time they work, is a lot of money to a minimum-waged waitress, with children to support.
“But this action is about much more than a change in tip policy. It’s about standing up to an employer that thinks it can get away with bulldozing through changes unchallenged. It’s also about challenging a rotten system built on low pay and exploitation and saying: ‘we will not be ignored or exploited anymore’.
“TGI Fridays workers are proud to stand with McDonalds workers who took part in the first ever strikes to hit the fast food giant in the UK last September , to demand better pay and fairer treatment.”