Over a month ago, staff at Cameron House Hotel raised a grievance about a new service charge and how tips were being distributed. This was due to the hotel introducing a 10% service charge without consulting with the staff, or advising staff how this service charge would be distributed.
At the moment the service charge money paid by card is kept by the hotel to be distributed at the end of the year. With this system, staff believe that they are losing out on £200 to £300 a month in lost tips.
Members of the Unite union met with management who agreed to implement a tronc system. This system is used in many hospitality settings.
What is a tronc?
This system is named after “tronc de pauvres” or collecting boxes in 1920’s France. A tronc is the arrangement where the tips, service charges etc. given by customers is shared fairly to all the staff. This is independent from the business as it is operated by a committee set up by staff. The system is backed by HMRC.
According to Unite, Cameron House have now stepped away from this deal and that 100% of all tips paid by card are withheld by the hotel to be distributed at the end of the year. Plus 15% of all service charges are retained by Cameron House management to pay all hotel staff a Christmas bonus. This means that staff who leave employment before the end of the year could lose out on earned tips and are paying for their own Christmas bonus.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Minimum wage workers are losing hundreds of pounds worth of tips at Cameron House, one of Scotland’s top-drawer luxury hotels. This is staggering abuse - a posh resort for the rich fleecing the tips of minimum-wage workers. The workers are fighting back and they have Unite’s rock solid support. The hotel faces significant reputational damage unless it acts to end this injustice.”
Unite hospitality organiser, Bryan Simpson, said: “A month after our members submitted this collective grievance, Cameron House senior management continue to refuse to honour the key commitments they made during negotiations. They need to ensure tips are distributed fairly, transparently and democratically. Our members have had enough and will be escalating their campaign for fair tips at Cameron House.”
A spokesperson for Cameron House commented: “Cameron House gives 100% of service charges to our staff and always has. We are committed to being open and transparent during this process and will work closely with Unite and the teams to come to an agreement as quickly as possible. Getting a satisfactory outcome for our team is a priority and we will continue to move forward to deliver this.”