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TGI Friday workers 'won't back down till company talks,' says Unite

Three-day strike at weekend prompted thousands of messages of solidarity

TGI FRIDAY workers won’t back down until the firm agrees to talks, the Unite union warned today as it reported “wide and solid” support for the weekend’s three-day strike at the restaurant chain.

Regional officer Dave Turnbull said workers taking action at Stratford City, Covent Garden and Milton Keynes had received “thousands of messages of solidarity flooding in from across the country.

“Unite is proud of our brave members who are taking a stand and calling out the bad practice across the chain’s 81 restaurants,” he said.

“Our members have said very clearly that the fight for a decent wage and fair tips for all goes on. We say more power to them.”

The bank holiday weekend strike was the latest move in a long-running dispute over low pay and confiscation of tips.

The strike, which ended at midnight last night was the fifth by Unite members at the US-owned chain.

The company stands accused of confiscating waiting staff tips to give kitchen staff a pay rise. It has also been accused of “minimum wage abuses.”

The catering industry is notoriously badly paid, with long hours and insecure contracts. Unite is targeting TGI Friday with a membership recruitment campaign, while fast food chain McDonald’s is being targeted by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union.

At the weekend, TGI pickets at the affected restaurants chanted: “We believe that we can win” and “What do we want? Fair pay.”

Mr Turnbull said the firm’s refusal to sit down and discuss a settlement was “inexcusable.”

“Our members are striking for a historic fifth time, not because they want to but because they’re not being listened to.

“It takes immense courage to take on a hedge fund-owned, multimillion-pound company like TGI Fridays, but the support that our members have had from the public has been great.  

“It is companies like TGI Fridays that give the hospitality industry a bad reputation. The sooner it realises that workers will no longer stand idly by and be exploited, the better it will be.”

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