Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has saluted the trade union campaign that has delivered a Tips Bill and the ending of the service charges scandal, that has dogged the hospitality sector for years.
Senator Gavan led the campaign for Tips, Gratuities and Service Charges to belong legally to the workers who earned them rather than be pocketed by bosses.
He introduced his Protection of Employee Tips Bill in 2017, which passed all stages in the Seanad before being cynically blocked by the last Fine Gael led government, by means of a so-called ‘money message’.
However, such was the power of the campaign mounted by the OneGalway Movement, trade unions SIPTU and Unite, student unions and academics such as Dr Deirdre Curran of NUIG, that the issue had to be dealt with by government resulting in the Payment of Wages Tips and Gratuities Bill, which will be passed in the next two weeks.
Senator Gavan said:
“While this Bill isn’t perfect, it goes a long way to dealing with the issue of tip theft which has been costing employees hundreds of euros each year.
“Research carried out by Sinn Féin showed that one in three workers were not receiving the tips that they earned.
“This Bill will require restaurants and hotels to display a notice outlining how tips are distributed and will ensure that all electronic tips belong legally to employees.
“Crucially, after further pressure from Sinn Féin, the government has now moved to include service charges, in whatever guise they take, as also belonging to employees.
“The scandal of hotels and restaurants adding a service charge to bills that was in many cases never passed on to employees will finally be ended.
“This is a very significant change and aligns the Bill much more with the Bill that I introduced 5 years ago.
“All credit for this massive win for hospitality workers belongs to the OneGalway Alliance of unions and students, SIPTU, Unite and USI.
“The workers who courageously told their stories of tip theft were crucial in winning public support.
“They were relentless in pushing their just demands and made it a live issue in the last general election campaign. It just shows what’s possible when workers, activists and the public get behind a campaign.”