Speaking this morning after the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Sinn Féin TD John Brady and Senator Paul Gavan, along with representatives from OneGalway, SIPTU, and Unite the Union, expressed frustration at Minister Regina Doherty’s proposed do-nothing tips bill.
Teachta Brady said:
“This bill is a diversion. This bill would not give a right to tips for workers. This bill would not ensure that tips are not stolen by employers.
“This bill would not touch the issue of the service charge. What we heard this morning from the Restaurants’ Association and the Hotels Federation was disgraceful.
“In their view, the service charge belongs to the business. In their view, workers have no right to the service charge – they do not care if consumers think it goes to workers. They do not believe it should.
“The business representatives were very clear – the service charge is a contract between consumers and the business to cover business expenses.
“This means that service charges are used, and in their view should be used, to pay workers their base pay.”
Seanadóir Gavan added:
“The service charge, under the Minister’s legislation, will continue to be used to pay basic wages.
“This is tips theft. Consumers believe service charges to go to workers for the extra work. This is not the case, and the RAI and IHF do not want it to go to them.
“This is a five-billion-euro sector, with some of the highest levels of low pay and precarious work.
“Yet, the RAI and IHF believe their members, and not workers, are entitled to the service charge.
“The Minister’s bill does not address the fundamental problems in the sector. It does not give workers a right to tips and it does not make sure that service charges are distributed to workers on top of their wages.
“This bill is nothing but window dressing to make it look like the Government is doing something when it is not. We can and must do better.
“I’m not even sure we should call this a bill. All we saw today were some scattered thoughts on a few pieces of paper.
“This has a serious implication for workers who will continue to be robbed of their just desserts.
“We welcome the obligation on businesses to display their tips and service charge distribution policy, but we know that some businesses lie about this already.
“There is no enforcement mechanism to ensure rogue businesses do not continue to mislead consumers and abuse their staff.
“This bill does absolutely nothing to help workers or consumers, and is a gift to bad bosses.”