Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, employs a controversial tipping policy in 42 of its U.K. branches that requires waiters to give up 2% of their total sales from each shift, the Guardian reports.
The 2% is taken from credit card tips and is distributed among kitchen and door staff. While wait staff involved in the dispute have said that they don’t mind sharing a percentage of their tips, they are not happy with the fact that they have to pay 2%, up from 1.5% at the beginning of this year, of their total sales regardless of how much they receive in gratuity. Some claim that at times they “pay to work.”
The restaurant rejects these claims and says that it has never asked waiters to pay more than they have made in tips.
Wait staff at Jamie’s Italian tend to be paid minimum wage on short-term contracts, and they rely on gratuity to supplement their income. They want the policy to be changed so that the percentage comes from their total tips rather than their total sales.
A union official has said that the dispute is not exclusive to Jamie’s Italian, but is part of a larger trend across the restaurant industry. Two other restaurant chains, Pizza Express and Las Iguanas, had similar policies and were pressured by staff to change them.
Sajid Javid, the U.K. business secretary, recently launched an investigation into abusive tipping practices. The inquiry will last through Nov. 10.