MK Council backs activists in low pay fight

    Milton Keynes Council has given its support to local UNITE the Union members taking action over low pay and zero hours contracts, and against actions by a local restaurant chain that stripped service staff of 40% of their card tips overnight.

    At a debate in Full Council last Wednesday, MK councillors overwhelmingly gave support to a motion highlighting the actions of local young people who have been campaigning for better pay and conditions in the hospitality sector, and called on the  businesses involved, such as TGI Fridays, to recognise and negotiate with their trade union to end the dispute.

    The dispute started when TGI Fridays gave only two days’ notice that 40% of card tips from customers to service staff would be redistributed to kitchen staff. Activists believe that a pay rise for kitchen staff should not come at the expense of other staff already working on the lowest pay. The strike started in the MK branch and has not only spread to other TGI Fridays, but has become a global movement against low pay and insecure work across the hospitality sector, leading to a global day of action against low pay in earlier in October involving low paid workers from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Chile, Argentina, Thailand and other countries.

    The Council also backed calling on Milton Keynes Conservative MPs to support calls for ending zero hours and back legislation to ensure employers offer secure permanent contracts to all employees who want one.


    Lauren Townsend, Local activist and UNITE the Union member said;“I’m proud that our local council overwhelmingly offered their support to our fight to end low pay and poor conditions in the hospitality sector, and highlighted our own local action against the removal of card tips from service staff in Milton Keynes. Our action, through our union UNITE, is about fair pay for all. A company should not be paying some people more at the expense of the lowest paid.”


    She continued;“Zero hours contracts may be OK for some, but for the many there is no choice. Low pay, insecure work often means people have to choose between paying their bills or their rent. We want employers to work with us to end low wages, pay a real living wage and offer a secure permanent contract to all employees who want one. Our fight is growing into a global movement and highlights that young people want change and fairness at work, and we are willing to stand up to employers to get it if that what is needed, but we’d much rather find a way to end this dispute fairly. MK Council support for that is so welcome.”


    Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of MK Council said;“I’m pleased MK Council has decided to stand with our local young people to fight low pay and poor conditions. It is amazing that young people from MK are leading this global fight for fairness. I know that joining a union is the best way to ensure fairness at work, but we now need our MPs to step up and back changes to ensure a real living wage, improve conditions and end unwanted zero hours contracts.”

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