Employees in the hospitality and leisure sector miss out on around £200 million in tips each year, according to Labor figures, where the party undertakes to “stamp” unreasonable deductions forever.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, will set out plans this week to ensure employers allocate all tips, gratuities and service charges to workers in full, with no deductions other than statutory taxes, by the end of the following month.
At the Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton, she will also announce proposals to allow exploited workers to lodge any workplace grievances collectively, a right denied to many hospitality workers seeking the return of deducted tips.
The Conservatives promised to tackle the tipping issue in their 2019 manifesto and also in an employment bill dropped from the last two Queen’s speeches, with Labor estimating staff may have lost more than £1bn. in tips since the government first promised action six years ago.
In the intervening period, there have been a number of high-profile examples of workers being refused tips, including Pizza Express, which had to change its policy following union efforts earlier this year.
A government-backed private member’s bill is making its way through parliament, but Labor says it will not close loopholes that allow employers to choose how tips are distributed.
The bill encourages businesses to use independent “tronc” systems – a pay scheme that lets businesses such as bars, restaurants, hotels or casinos fairly share staff tips – but Labor said this should be mandatory for businesses with more than 20 employees.
Rayner, who is shadow secretary of state for the future of work, said: “It is disgraceful that this government has time and again allowed hospitality workers to be cheated out of their own money, with staff losing up to £1bn over the last five years with Tory inaction,” she said.
“Not content with crashing the economy, the Tories are proving to be the anti-labour party in every sense. Frontline workers in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants are often the lowest paid, and with the Tories’ cost of living crisis worsening by the week, every a crown.”