Unite calls for tipping transparency ahead of government review

07 September 2015 by
Unite calls for tipping transparency ahead of government review

The Unite union has again called for more transparency in restaurants' tipping and service charge policies and said it was continuing to consult on the government's upcoming review into the practice.

Commenting on the recent tipping scandal, Dave Turnbull (pictured), hospitality officer at Unite, welcomed the move by PizzaExpress, Zizzi and Ask to stop charging an 8% administration fee, saying that they "had done the right thing". PizzaExpress announced it had dropped the 8% administration charge on tips on 3 September, while Zizzi and Ask followed suit a day later.

Despite this, Turnbull insisted that restaurants still needed to increase transparency levels on their tipping and service charging policy, and that the government review into tipping needed to include the views of employees, employers and customers.

The moves come weeks after groups Côte, Bill's, Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay were criticised for various aspects of their policies towards tips and service charge. Côte has explicitly denied any claims of wrongdoing.

Speaking to The Caterer today, Turnbull said: "We're extremely pleased that PizzaExpress, Zizzi and Ask, have done the right thing. We're hoping that these restaurants are setting a new trend and that others will follow suit.

He added: "Restaurants need to be much more transparent; they can't claim that the administration is costing them 8% and then fail to produce any figures to back that up. There is definitely too much secrecy surrounding tips, and there needs to be lots more engagement with workers, otherwise these policies can damage the reputation of the industry."

He explained that the next step for Unite was to continue its consultation work with the government, which is looking to investigate the wider tipping and service charge practices in the UK, and introduce a code of practice across restaurants as a whole.

Turnbull also explained that it was important to "promote dialogue with employers as well as employees so we can be fair to everyone".

Unite's comments echo those of Hawksmoor and Foxlow co-founder Will Beckett, who told The Caterer last month that his company doesn't use any of the money from the service charge to cover staffing costs.

He added: "To people outside restaurants, I think it has suggested that this is an industry still where there aren't transparent, progressive employment practices, and that is really bad at a time when we have really just been getting up a head of steam about what a wonderful place to work this can be."

‘Be transparent' about tipping, Hawksmoor boss tells restaurateurs >>

Business Secretary Sajid Javid wades into Côte service charge controversy >>

Côte accused of ‘misleading' customers by taking service charge >>

Côte defends position in service charge row >>

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