The Conservative Party just hit a new level of irony with its policy to ban “deductions on workers’ tips”. Theresa May plans to announce the new policy on 1 October at the party conference in Birmingham. However, Jeremy Corbyn had already announced the same policy back in June 2018. Effectively, the Tories are stealing a policy that bans stealing.
The Conservatives announced ‘their’ policy on Twitter on 1 October:
? Some employers take a % from tips – but we don’t think that’s fair.
So we’re stopping this to:
➡️ Boost pay for workers on low wages.
➡️ Offer a more honest arrangement for the consumers who leave tips.
We want ordinary working people rewarded for their hard work ?? pic.twitter.com/GLLs30W44v
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— Conservatives (@Conservatives) October 1, 2018
Corbyn thought it was unfair for employers to steal staff tips too. So much so that he announced his party’s plans on Twitter on 11 June:
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 11, 2018
Most noteworthy, May has claimed this “tough” legislation is part of her government’s focus to end workplace exploitation. And employers stealing tips is certainly exploitative.
Perhaps the prime minister will be revealing a raft of policies, banning zero-hours contracts and tackling low pay for service workers. Because Labour has already announced these policies and May wants to try and appear as though she cares about workers’ rights.
The Tories and ‘their’ tipping policy
As reported by the BBC, the Conservatives have committed to this policy on the back of a “public outcry” in 2015. Some high-street eateries were taking up to 10% of workers’ credit or debit card tips. A government consultation was launched in 2015, which found customers were “overwhelmingly” in favour of tips going to the member of staff that served them.
As the Evening Standard reported, May said of the need for her government’s policy:
we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions. It’s another way we are building an economy that works for everyone.
However, Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey accused the Tories of copying Labour:
This is now the fourth policy the Tories have copied from us at their conference, as they desperately try to catch up with Labour. It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day. It’s a shame that Unite have had to fight so hard to extract this concession from the Tories.
This step in tackling tipping abuses has been a long time coming and is in no small part down to the determined campaigning of Unite and its members. As ever the devil will be in the detail of the legislation the Government brings forward.
Twitter also thinks the Tories have stolen Labour’s policy. And those calling it out took time to highlight other injustices too.
One Twitter user called out May for announcing “another Labour policy”:
Via @jeremycorbyn@Theresa_May just announced another Labour policy – banning employers taking workers' tips. Your party has run out of ideas. Stealing a few of ours won’t work. We need General Election so can implement Labour's plan to transform Britain. pic.twitter.com/OwFpfX3x5h
— Oliver ?✊? #GTTO (@tynewrc) October 1, 2018
Another contributor didn’t hold back on what else is “also not fair”:
Also not fair
Under 25s excluded from "National Living Wage",
National Living Wage not being a living wage,
Families , including those in work, having to use food banks,
Tory war on disabled
Essentials like water being in the hands of profit motivated private companies
— Dave Williams (@realdavedoubleu) October 1, 2018
And another person took this opportunity to highlight “repulsive” treatment of disabled people:
When are you going to stop taking money from disabled people ? I find that Tory practice deeply repulsive pic.twitter.com/pBFvrAP7NJ
— Mr Eton Oldboys MP (@EtonOldBoys) October 1, 2018
One Labour supporter got into a spat with a Tory voter because of poverty creation and who is responsible for it:
Because we’d all be living in poverty
— Mattias McDonald (@matty_bigmac) October 1, 2018
You put emphasis on the wrong word
— Mattias McDonald (@matty_bigmac) October 1, 2018
If May seriously wanted to combat injustices for service workers, she’d support the unions. She’d also back a ban on zero-hours contracts, and she’d address poverty pay. Instead, she has refused to regulate them.
So Theresa May, it’s time to come up with your own ideas; or step aside for a new government that has some.
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