Union activists and supporters of restaurant staff at Knightbridge department store Harrods will be demanding that its grasping owners show some respect by giving 100% of tips back to chefs, waiters and porters, rather than stealing away up to three quarters for Qatari royals.
The firm, which was bought by Qatar Investment Authority in 2010, is currently grabbing up to £5,000 per employee every year by pocketing service charges rather than sharing it out to staff — contributing to a 40% increase in operating profit and record sales for the seventh year in a row.
Harrods said it was “reviewing the way it shares out service charges” last month after balking at threats of a Christmas time strike, but is still refusing to offer any concrete numbers and staff are determined to make sure store bosses don’t play them for fools. Organisers with the United Voices of the World union (UVW) said:
Whilst a pay rise for nearly 500 workers is always welcome, especially at Christmas time, UVW is not satisfied and will not rest until 100% of the service charge goes into the pockets of the workers and not the Qatari royal family.
There are also other problems that plague the workers at Harrods’ esteemed culinary department. For example, the waiters are on minimum, poverty wage or a few pennies more, plus they are understaffed and overworked.
Taking any percentage of the service charge, which customers think is going to the waiters, is unacceptable. Taking up to 75% is an utter disgrace.
The protest outside Harrods (87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL) will run from 2pm-6pm on Saturday. Facebook event page here