Hospitality workers protest over pay and conditions

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Workers from across the hospitality industry have joined up for a protest as part of a day of action on disputes over pay and working conditions.

McDonald’s and TGI Fridays employees together with Wetherspoons pub staff gathered at a rally in London’s Leicester Square alongside couriers from Deliveroo and Uber Eats plus Uber drivers.

Events were also taking place in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.

The day of action was organised by War on Want, Unite, and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady attended the London event, where workers voiced demands for a £10 minimum wage and union recognition.

Ms O’Grady told Sky News: “We’re not asking for the earth. We do expect fair pay, we do expect guaranteed hours and we want our unions to have a voice at work.”

She said multi-national companies at the centre of the protests had “deep pockets” and “can afford to treat their workers fairly”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell speaking at a rally about disputes over pay and union recognition in Leicester Square, London.   Hospitality workers protest over pay and conditions skynews john mcdonnell hospitality 4442919
Image:
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell attended a rally in London

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said hospitality workers were “finding their voice”, adding: “These workers have had enough of low pay and insecure work.

“They are leading a growing movement against low pay and insecure work in the hospitality sector and across the gig economy.”

TGI Fridays workers from Milton Keynes were among those protesting – in a dispute over the way tips are distributed.

They say a decision to move 40% of credit card tips to kitchen staff is costing front-of-house workers hundreds of pounds a month.

That was described by one employee, Lauren Townsend, as “taking from one set of low-paid workers to give to another”.

Another TGIF worker, Bonnie Adeliyi, told Sky News that she was working four jobs to save up to go to drama school but had to postpone going for a year because she still could not afford it.

She described low morale among colleagues too including women with children who were struggling to pay their day-to-day costs such as rent.

A TGI Fridays spokesman said: “All team members are paid at or above the national minimum wage hourly rate and they keep 100% of tips with zero admin charges. Team members’ pay is regularly reviewed.

“Our team members are vital to the success of the business and we invest heavily in them. We offer careers, not just jobs, with initiatives such as an apprenticeship scheme and industry-recognised qualifications.

“All of this – and more – means that our team turnover is around half of the average for the hospitality industry.

“We know the vast majority of our team members recognise this and this is why out of a workforce of over 5,500 team members, fewer than 0.5% are involved in this action.”



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