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Exploitation of Hospitality Workers must end – Senator Paul Gavan

21 November, 2018 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Senator Paul Gavan has called for hospitality workers’ to be given a legal right to their tips.

Senator Gavan was speaking at the publication of Sinn Féin’s submission to the Low Pay Commission which is currently investigating the regulation of tipping in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Senator Gavan said:

“Workers in the Hospitality sector do not have a legal right to their tips.

“These are workers employed in a sector characterised by poverty pay, precarious work and serious abuses to workers’ rights.

“At the very least, we must ensure that they get to keep the tips which they earn.

“We know from research carried out in Galway that not only are workers denied their statutory rest breaks and denied holiday entitlements; but one third of workers also have their tips stolen off them by their employers on a regular basis.

“If enacted, Sinn Féin’s Protection of Employee Tips Bill 2017 will give workers’ a legal right to their tips.

“Our Bill has unfortunately been suspended by Fine Gael since January, as we await the findings of the State’s Low Pay Commission body.

“Even in Britain, the most right wing conservative government in the history of the state has acknowledged that this issue must be dealt with. Yet our own Government is dragging its heels.

“In our submission, we have called on the Low Pay Commission to recommend that workers are given a statutory right to their tips through legislation. This must be guaranteed.

“We urge the Commission to recommend legislation rather than a code of conduct because such a code will not work in Ireland’s hospitality sector. 

"This is an industry in which the Irish Hotels Federation and Restaurant Association Ireland have flat-out refused to engage in conversation with workers.

“This is an industry in which the most basic of workers’ rights are breached on a daily basis, as highlighted by consecutive Workplace Relations Court annual reports. 

"What hope would a non-binding code of conduct provide to workers who are currently having their tips stolen by their employers?

“At the end of the day, everybody should be able to agree that workers should have a right to keep the tips which they earn and we are calling on the Low Pay Commission to recommend such a right in its findings.”


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