Unite to protest 'service charge scam' at STK London

05 February 2016

A 'Fair Tips' protest is set to descend on STK London tonight, over allegations of a 'service charge scam'.

UK trade union Unite claims that the the steakhouse, located within the ME London hotel, has used the discretionary 15% service charge to 'top up the salaries of four senior managers by as much as £50,000 a year each'. The union, which represents 3,500 London hospitality workers, also accused the hotel of not disclosing the details of its tronc scheme. In response, it has arranged tonight's protest, starting at 7pm at the hotel.

ME London general manager Guillaume Marly responded in a statement: 'ME London follows standard hospitality industry practice through the use of the tronc system. We are currently reviewing the service charge policy and have made great progress in our discussions with our employees and the union, to ensure that it reflects our staff and customers’ views.'

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy, on the other hand, said: 'Restaurants and bars were banned from using tips to top up staff wages to the legal national minimum back in 2009, but that clearly hasn't stopped STK from finding a nifty loophole to subsidise managers’ wages above and beyond the national minimum wage.

'We believe that customers will be outraged to learn that money from the service charge which they have paid in good faith may be used as a monthly bonus to boost bosses' wages by tens of thousands of pounds a year each, rather than going to waiting and kitchen staff.'

McCarthy called on business secretary Sajid Javid to speed up the Government's current investigation into tipping. Late last year Unite called for a zero tolerance policy on administration charges.

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