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To tip or not to tip?

Unite condemns hotelier’s tipping ban
Chantal Chegrinec, Friday, September 16th, 2016

A hotelier has banned customers from leaving tips at his restaurant saying the ‘more you spend the more you get nailed.’


Thomas Noblett, the managing director of Langdale Chase Hotel, a luxury country house hotel in Windermere Cumbria will no longer add service charges to bills and customers are advised not to leave tips in a bid to encourage repeat custom.


Now the Telegraph is running a poll asking readers whether they support a ban on service charge tips.


A victory for diners, I hear you cheer — at last, a solution to greedy bosses pocketing your money to top up their poverty pay.


Yet scratch beneath the surface and it soon becomes clear that staff at the country house are paid only the national minimum wage — hardly a ringing endorsement for fairness.


So is the outright banning of tips really the answer? Not according to Unite, which has been campaigning for fair tips for over eight years, and certainly not for the hundreds of thousands of minimum waged waiters and kitchen staff who rely on customer tips to meet their basic living costs.


Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull, who has been spearheading the union’s campaign said, “Before we can even consider banning tipping in this country, the UK hospitality sector needs to get its act together and start paying workers a wage they can actually live on- a proper living wage – not the government’s sham living national wage. It’s what our members tell us they want.


So before you tick ‘yes’ in that Telegraph poll consider this: 68 per cent of hospitality workers are paid less than the Living Wage of £8.25 (£9.40 in London) with that number climbing to 85 per cent for waiting staff. That’s a lot of people forced to live on, what are effectively, poverty wages.


Turnbull added, “Trying to survive on the minimum wage is tough – really tough. I’ve heard from workers well into their thirties, working 60 plus hours a week, forced to share a room with three or four others because they can’t even afford to rent a room of their own.


Turnbull wants to see restaurants and hotels adopt fair tipping practices and is urging the government to get a move on with releasing the finding of its consultation into tipping which closed on June 27.


“Last summer Sajid Javid, the former business secretary, promised a crackdown on the tipping abuses of some of our most popular chains after Unite’s campaign sparked a huge media backlash,” he said.


“Yet over a year later customers and staff alike are still no closer to getting the clarity and justice they deserve. To kick this into the long grass now, in the face of such a mass public outcry, is simply inexcusable.”


Unite will not rest until we see Fair Tips on every menu. To make this happen we will continue to press the government to clamp down on rip off tips scams once and for all.


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