SIX people including the leader of a union were arrested at the weekend after demonstrating against Harrods which has been accused of taking a staggering £2.5 million a year in tips from hospitality staff.
Waiters and chefs who work in the restaurants at the high-end department store are being deprived of up to 75 per cent of their tips, according to the United Voices of the World (UVW) union that organised Saturday’s action.
The union says this amounts to around £5,000 a year for each staff member, a whopping £2.5 million in total.
Demonstrators obstructed roads in Knightsbridge and a smoke bomb was let off as workers demanded fair pay during the action outside Harrods.
UVW general secretary Petros Elia was arrested after the demonstration.
A note — one of 500 that activists hid around the store — read: “Harrods pinch 75 per cent of their restaurant staff tips. The tips are intended for the waiters, not the Qatari royal family. Stop stealing from your workers.”
Talks were held with Harrods restaurant managers last week during which they promised to review the tipping system.
However, staff were incensed they were allegedly told that the current arrangements were entirely legal and that they were welcome to look for alternative employment if they weren’t happy with them.
The union is demanding that the workers receive 100 per cent of the tips. A Harrods spokeswoman insisted the staff were treated fairly.
She said: “Harrods regularly revisits its policies to ensure that we best serve our employees and has been taking steps over recent months to review and improve the current system through which it distributes its service charge.
“We have been engaging with our staff directly on this issue.”
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