TGI Fridays hit by first ever strike ballot over pay and tips

Workers at restaurant chain TGI Fridays are to be balloted for strikes in a dispute over wages and tips.

The Unite union said it will hold strike ballots at two branches every week from Friday, starting in Milton Keynes and Covent Garden in London.

A protest will be held outside the Covent Garden branch on Friday to mark the start of ballots, which Unite said were the first to hit the American company since its first UK restaurant opened in 1986.

Unite accused TGI Fridays of using unpaid trial shifts and of taking 40% of waiters' card tips and redistributing them to kitchen staff in lieu of a pay rise.

Unite regional officer, Dave Turnbull, said: "Our members are bravely fighting back against a system that forces workers to live on low pay and without income security.

"They have decided to ballot for strike action in a wave of rolling strike ballots over the coming months because their employer has refused to address their concerns on tips and other issues."

TGI Fridays was on a recent list of companies "named and shamed" by the Government for not paying the minimum wage.

The move follows an announcement that McDonald's workers at six branches are to be balloted for further strikes over pay and working conditions.

Staff from restaurants in Cambridge and Crayford, London, walked out last year in the first strikes in the chain's history in Britain.

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