In a speech to the Bakers Union (BFAWU) annual conference in Southport today, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will announce a package of new workplace policies for hospitality workers across the UK, including:
Legislation to ensure 100 per cent of tips are kept by staff
Corbyn will announce a new policy to ensure that 100 per cent of tips are retained by staff, putting an end to practices that has seen tips deducted by businesses.
The next Labour government will legislate to ban businesses from taking a cut from customer tips paid on a credit or debit card as an administration fee; charging waiters to work and pocketing ‘optional’ service charges.
This is in addition to the policies of a Real Living Wage of £10 per hour by 2020 for all workers, whatever their age; secure full rights and regular hours for all workers and ensure full rights to trade union representation and collective bargaining; announced in Labour’s 2017 manifesto.
A “#MeToo workplace revolution”
Corbyn will commit the next Labour government to:
- Legislating to prevent making any contractual clauses (NDAs) which stop disclosure of future discrimination, harassment or victimisation
- Doubling the timeframe within which employment tribunals can be taken
- Requiring employers to publish their sexual harassment policy and the steps being taken to implement it on their external website.
According to a Unite survey, 89 per cent of hospitality workers said they had experienced one or more incidents of sexual harassment in their working life. The same survey found that when asked whether their workplace had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place, 77 per cent said no or they did not know.
Labour’s 2017 manifesto promised to reinstate third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act, repealed by Theresa May, and give trade union equality representatives statutory rights.
On measures to that 100 per cent of tips are retained by staff, Corbyn will say:
Tips should be kept by the staff who earn them, not employers. It’s not fair or right that in businesses across the country, hardworking hospitality workers have had their tips pocketed by their bosses under the guise of bogus admin fees, or to cover breakages, till shortages or customer walkouts.
Labour will make it illegal for rogue employers to make deductions from tips, so staff get to keep 100 per cent, and customers know who their money is going to.
And on the “#MeToo workplace revolution”:
Sexual harassment is a scourge in our society. Without proper rights, contracts and union representation, hospitality staff are at greater risk of being harassed and abused in their workplace.
Labour will bring about a workplace rights revolution, so people are free to do their jobs, in the hospitality sector and beyond, without facing unacceptable behaviour and abuses of power from colleagues, clients or customers.
Facts and figures
Employers taking a cut from customer tips paid on a credit or debit card often deduct as much as fifteen percent, calling it an administration fee.
Others deduct a percentage of between 2%-3% from waiting staff table sales. If staff don’t make enough money in tips to cover the levy, some employers deduct it from their wages.
Some employers pocket all of most of the ‘optional’ service charge that increasing numbers of restaurants are automatically adding to customer bills, while many use tips and service charge payments to cover the cost of breakages, till shortages, customers ‘doing a runner’, credit card transaction fees or simply to boost profits. They can even be used to boost senior managers’ wages.
Members of the Unite union at TGI Fridays branches have been striking over a policy to give 40 per cent of card tips earned by waiting staff to kitchen workers.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can be used at the start of an employment relationship, or particular event in an attempt to prevent staff speaking out about sexual harassment or other issues. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have said that this “may discourage people from reporting harassment which occurs during the course of their employment or the event.”
The next Labour Government will prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements in relation to future events, and make any existing contractual clauses that prohibit disclosure void.
The EHRC has recommended that non-disclosure agreements about sexual harassment in the workplace should be banned.
Women employed by the agency Artista who were staffing the Presidents club dinner were required to sign NDAs prior to the event
In contrast to Labour’s plans to protect workers, Theresa May repealed Section 40 of the 2010 Equality Act, which held employers responsible if a third party (such as clients and customers) harassed someone in their employment and the they “failed to take such steps as would have been reasonably practicable to prevent the third party from doing so”.
A 2016 TUC report revealed that over half (fifty two per cent) of all women polled have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace.
But this is worse in the hospitality sector. Eighty-nine per cent of hospitality workers surveyed by Unite said they had experienced sexual harassment by colleagues or clients. When asked whether their workplace had an anti-sexual harassment policy in place, Seventy-seven per cent said no or did not know.
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