Paula calls for debate on tips and gratuities

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff has called for a debate on the Department of Business Innovation and Skills consultation on tips and gratuities.

The call comes following revelations by the Unite Union (who led the successful campaign into stopping Pizza Express pocketing a percentage of staff tips last year), that a five star London Hotel owned by the Melia International chain, was using the staff service charge to top up senior managers salaries.

The Business Secretary Sajid Javid undertook a review into the practice of which the consultation period ended at the start of November last year. However to date there has been no government response into the review. 

Sherriff asked the Leader of the House, Chris Grayling MP last Thursday:

“May we have Government time for a debate on the consultation by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on tips and gratuities? The consultation closed at the start of last November, but the Minister for Skills confirmed in a written answer this morning that no Government response is imminent. Just this week, Unite the union has exposed another scandalous practice in which the Melia Hotel International chain appears to take a 15% cut from tips and uses it to top up senior managers’ pay, which it describes as standard industry practice. Will the Leader of the House join me in saying that this is totally unacceptable, and urge his colleagues to move from consultation to action?”

Grayling responded:

“I have always taken the view that if someone is given a tip, either they should keep it or it should be pooled with their fellow members of staff. I know that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills takes this issue seriously and I will make sure that the specific concerns raised by the hon. Lady are passed to him.”

Commenting afterwards, Sherriff said:

“It’s not acceptable that three months after the consultation has finished, the government are still saying that no response is imminent.

“Waiting tables is among the worst paid jobs in the UK with unsociable hours.  Many waiters rely on their tips to boost their low earnings. They should not be getting robbed by their own employer.

“Tips are left by customers intended for the staff who served them, it is therefore immoral for companies to be siphoning this money off to boost the already high earnings of the company management. It also shows they have complete disregard for their customers.

“Deduction of tips from hard working and poorly paid staff is not something the government should consult on and then kick into the long grass. It is a situation which needs to be acted upon now.”