TGI Fridays hit with first ever strike over tips and minimum wage

TGI Fridays staff members are to be balloted by trade union Unite for strike action over tips and minimum wage.

In the first of a series of strikes over the coming months, waiting staff from the chain’s Milton Keynes and Covent Garden restaurants will be balloted from 18 April to take action over alleged breaches of the company’s tip and tronc policy and minimum wage abuses.

A protest will be held outside the chain’s Covent Garden branch this Friday (13 April) from 6.30pm to mark the launch of the first ever strike ballots to hit TGI Fridays since opening its first UK restaurant in Birmingham in 1986.

TGI Fridays, which is majority owned by the private equity firm Electra, has come under fire in recent weeks over its use of unpaid trial shifts and for taking 40% of waiters’ card tips and redistributing them to kitchen staff in lieu of a pay rise. It also topped a list of firm’s named and shamed by the government for failing to pay workers the legal minimum wage.

Unite regional officer, Dave Turnbull, said: “Our members are bravely fighting back against a system that forces workers to live on low pay and without income security.

“They have decided to ballot for strike action in a wave of rolling strike ballots over the coming months because their employer has refused to address their concerns on tips and other issues. Unite is proud to support them.”

He added: “The ballot of TGI Fridays workers comes just days after workers at fast food giant, McDonald’s decided to ballot for further industrial action at six stores, building on their historic strike last September.

“Standing up for your rights and challenging bad practice is hard when the threat of having your shifts cut or losing your job looms over you. It takes courage to fight back, which is why these TGI Fridays’ workers and the McStrikers deserve our respect.

“Unite is urging TGI Fridays workers from across the UK to join the union. It’s not too late to have your say and demand better from your employer.”

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