Staff at luxury Scottish hotel claim they are losing up to £300 a month in tips
It is a luxury five-star hotel where rooms typically cost £600 a night and which has counted former US president Barack Obama among its most famous guests.
Now Cameron House, on the shores of Loch Lomond, is embroiled in an ugly employee row, with a leading union claiming minimum wage workers are being denied up to £300 a month in hard-earned tips and service charges.
Unite is now representing around 60 bar and restaurant staff at the hotel in a collective grievance over the “opaque” way tips are now paid at the venue.
In January, hotel management made changes to the way service charges were passed on, with the union saying staff are now between £200 and £300 a month worse off.
Cameron House said it distributes 100 per cent of all service charges and that discussions were ongoing with staff and unions.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary 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.”
Staff are fighting the hotel’s historic practice of retaining all all tips paid by card until the end of the year, with Cameron House now considering its position on the policy given employee feedback.
Unite has also claimed 15 per cent of all service charges are used to pay all employees – not just bar and waiting staff – a Christmas bonus, although hotel management have not explained how the money is distributed.
The union is calling for a new ‘Tips Committee’ made up of bar and restaurant staff to oversee the democratic and proportionate distribution of service charges and card tips.
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."
An Employment Bill working its way through the House of Commons seeks to toughen up law around tips.
Employers will be able to distribute tips via a Tronc system, which runs tips through payroll and reported to HMRC, with a tip to be dealt with no later than the month after it was originally paid.
Cameron House said it had not agreed to a Tronc committee for staff to oversee tip payments, but a robust system, with a clear operating procedure, would be put in place.
A hotel spokesperson said: “Cameron House gives 100 per cent 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.”
The row comes with a fatal accident inquiry into a 2017 fire at Cameron House that killed two guests due to open on Monday.
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