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After TGI Fridays bosses’ retreat, it’s time to fight for everyone

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Issue 2630
Workers on strike in east London
Workers on strike in east London (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Unite union heralded a victory at the TGI Fridays restaurant chain last week.

Workers have been fighting for fair tips and pay justice since January.

The dispute began when bosses told waiting staff, with two days’ notice, that 40 percent of tips made by card would go to kitchen workers.

Some waiting staff lost hundreds of pounds a month as a result.

Unite members across three TGI Fridays restaurants in London, Manchester and Milton Keynes struck for three days in August as part of the campaign.

That followed a 24-hour strike across four sites in May.


Unite London & Eastern last week said, “Workers at TGI Fridays won after taking highly effective industrial action and embarrassing the company into concessions.”

Staff meals will be reinstated. Workers will be paid for trial shifts as will online training sessions that were previously unpaid.

And kitchen staff will receive 35 percent of tips from February, instead of the current 40 percent.

This was decided by a restored “Tronc committee” that was abolished in January. It arranges to pool tips and share them out.

The bosses’ retreat shows that strikes can get results.

But if the union had fought for pay rises for all workers, kitchen staff included, this could have seen a bigger struggle win much more.

Instead kitchen workers didn’t join TGI picket lines.

Restaurant workers are forced to rely on tips to get by because wages are so low. Unions need to urgently up the fight for better pay everywhere.

As one TGI Friday striker said, “Settled? No. We’re now going for a pay rise for everyone.”

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