One of the worlds wealthiest stores was the scene of protest yesterday in a row over tips.
Workers at Harrod's 16 restaurants claim department store bosses keep up to 75 percent of the service charge on each bill. They say the current system means staff are missing out on up to £5,000 a year.
Between 50 and 100 demonstrators led by the union United Voices of the World, which represents some of the west London store’s waiters and kitchen staff, brought Brompton Road almost to a standstill blocking doorways and roads and setting off smoke bombs at Harrods in protest against the store's policy of stealing workers tips collected at its cafes and restaurants.Furious protesters also chanted and slipped notes into pockets, bags and boxes of goods being sold in the store.Campaigners also held up banners which read: “Stop stealing our tips” and “Harrods tips are not for profit”.It led to two people being subsequently arrested.
Mr Petros Elia, UVW general secretary, says “Harrods is showing complete disdain for its low paid staff while profiting off their backs.” Staff are rightly angry that, despite the fact that the store has registered massive, record-breaking profits and its owners, the Qatari royal family, have paid themselves a whopping £100 million dividend, they’ve seen their share of the service charge go down.”
Elia also points out that most diners assume their tips are a reward for good service. “Harrods is also exploiting the good will of its customers, most of whom will logically assume that their tips go to waiters and kitchen staff.”
“Taking away any percentage of the service charge, which customers think is going to the waiters, is unacceptable. Taking up to 75% is an utter disgrace. “That 75% means that every year the Qatari royal family, which owns Harrods, is taking up to £5,000 worth of tips from every chef, waiter and porter. Famous worldwide Harrods, had record profits in 2016 of £168m. There is no excuse for Harrods, (not the only ones in the hospitality industry incidentally that carry out this practice.) to keep any of the service charge for themselves.
It is about time that this practice of keeping part or hole tips and service charges is outlawed, as the staff are underpaid, robbed and the guests are lied to. Justice to all those working in hospitality industry currently being ripped off and Harrods stop stealing your waiters tips.