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Newspaper launches fair pay campaign

15 July 2008 by

The controversy over restaurants topping up minimum wage with tips was reignited today as The Independent newspaper launched a campaign demanding an end to the practice.

The Fair Tips, Fair Pay campaign, launched with a front-page splash, is very similar to the Unite union and Daily Mirror's Fair Tips Charter, which was launched earlier this year.

It calls on restaurants to operate a fair, clear and transparent policy for distributing service charges and gratuities to staff; to display their policy on service charges and gratuities clearly on menus; and to guarantee waiting staff a basic salary of at least the minimum wage, excluding gratuities.

The Independent

It repeated Unite's claim that Pizza Express takes an 8% cut of non-cash tips and said one chain of Asian restaurants, Georgetown, takes 100% of tips.

At Tuttons restaurant in London's Covent Garden, staff receive no basic pay at all - all their wages are based on tips, according to The Independent.

The British Hospitality Association denied restaurants were mistreating waiting staff and blamed HM Revenue and Customs for failing to provide a clear lead.

BHA deputy chief executive, Martin Couchman, said that there were "legitimate" costs involved in distributing service charges and credit card tips.

"It's perfectly legal to top up to the minimum wage," he said. "Evidence from recent controversy is that, overall, people are earning more than the minimum wage. It's legal and its one of the things that arose from the Revenue interpretation, which was very confused for a long period."

Union leaders launch campaign for fair tips >>

Government looking at taking direct action on restaurant tips >>

Tips can count towards minimum wage, finds tribunal >>

Carluccio's slammed for paying less than minimum wage >>

By Daniel Thomas

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