Workers at TGI Fridays in Milton Keynes were due to walk aout again today (Friday,May 25) in a dispute about the company’s tips policy.
Members of the Unite union launched the strike action, saying the new ruling will cost them up to £250 a month.
The restaurant chain ordered earlier this year that 40 per cent of card tips earned by waiting staff should be given to kitchen workers.
A spokesman for the employees said: “This isn’t about minimum wage servers not wanting to share with their kitchen colleagues. It’s about a company whose shareholders have gotten so greedy that they no longer want to pay their hardworking staff above the bare minimum.”
A TGI Fridays spokesman said only a “small number’ of staff voted to strike. He said the company was working with them to resolve the issue.
The walkout comes a week after the first strike, which was strongly supported by the public.
Evidence uncovered by Unite has revealed that kitchen staff wages are lower now than they were four years ago, before TGI Fridays was sold to the private equity firm Electra in a £225m deal in 2014.
In 2014, a senior shift, back of house leader was paid £9.35 an hour, today the hourly rate is just £8.40 an hour. Lower grade back of house posts have seen a 60p drop from £8.45 to £7.85 for those aged 25 and over.
Waiting staff at TGI Fridays are paid as little as £5.90 an hour (the minimum wage for 18-20 year olds) or the national living wage of £7.83 an hour for workers aged over 25 and rely on tips to boost their meagre wages.
Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “It’s shocking that not only have kitchen staff wages not risen in the last four years, they actually appear to have fallen.
“TGI Fridays should be paying workers a wage they can live on, not robbing the tips from one group of low waged workers to pay off another.
“Not only are our members – some of whom are paid as little as £5.90 an hour losing up to £250 a month, both kitchen and front of house are also regularly being cheated out of money they are rightfully owed as a statutory right.
“Kitchen staff used to be paid more, in recognition of their skill, but the gap has narrowed since the introduction of the government’s national living wage in 2016. TGI Fridays needs to pay all staff fairly and dig into its own pockets, instead of robbing the tips from Peter to pay Paul.
“To be clear, this isn’t about minimum wage servers not wanting to share with their kitchen colleagues. It’s about a company whose shareholders have become so greedy that they no longer want to pay their hardworking staff anything above the bare minimum.
“But this strike is about more than tips – it’s about challenging bad practice by a profitable, hedge fund owned company. It’s about exposing alleged minimum wage abuses and saying ‘enough’ to being cheated out of money that is rightfully owed.
“Customers are urged to join the thousands of people supporting the TGI strikers, sign our letter to the CEO and tip in cash.”