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Pizza Express staff win campaign for larger slice of tips

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·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
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Front of house staff took action after the move handed more money to kitchen workers, and meant they were losing out on about £2,000 extra. Photo: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty
Front of house staff took action after the move handed more money to kitchen workers, and meant they were losing out on about £2,000 extra. Photo: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty

Waiting staff at Pizza Express have won a campaign for a bigger slice of restaurant tips after the company cut their share of credit and debit card payments from 70% to 50% last year.

Front of house staff took action after the move handed more money to kitchen workers, and meant they were losing out on about £2,000 extra.

However, from May this year waiting staff will go back to receiving 70% of tips, while those in the kitchen will get 30%.

The year-long campaign was backed by union Unite, after it was highlighted that waiting staff tend to receive lower hourly pay and fewer guaranteed hours than kitchen staff. They also lack the opportunity to get a bonus.

It comes as waiting staff had already suffered from reduced footfall during the coronavirus pandemic, as non-essential places closed, and people were forced to either stay home or social-distance indoors.

A shift to contactless cashless payments also drove the number of tips lower.

Read more: Cost of living: Everything that will cost you more in April

“This decision is long overdue and a welcome change," Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said.

“Pizza Express waiters have been fighting this ill-thought-out, unpopular and unfair tipping policy for over a year and have faced massive internal pressure from the company to stay silent and accept it.

“This victory sends a clear message throughout the hospitality sector that Unite will challenge and overturn unfair tipping policies.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Pizza Express said: “The tipping policy is entirely employee-led.” They said the latest change had been made after a “planned review”.

They added: “100% of all tips continue to go to our restaurant teams and cash tips go directly to the server. Pizza Express pays the card fees to ensure 100% of tips go to the restaurant team.”

As many as 2.5 million UK workers will receive a pay boost from Friday as the national minimum wage and national living wage (NLW) rates increase.

The hike consists of a pay rise of £1,000 ($1,311) a year for full-time workers, and is the largest ever uplift to the NLW for Brits ages 23 and over, who will now earn 6.6% more at £9.50 an hour.

Read more: European stocks cautiously higher despite lower than expected US payroll numbers

Last year, the age threshold for the rate moved from age 25 to 23, meaning that more young workers are now eligible for a higher wage.

It also means that the annual earning of a full-time worker on the national living wage will have now increased by over £5,000 since its introduction by the UK government in April 2016.

Workers in the retail, hospitality, and cleaning and maintenance sectors will benefit in particular, the department for business, energy and industrial strategy said

Watch: How to save money on a low income

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