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Why I joined a union - Sophie's story


Working in hospitality can be really insecure. There are lots of young people and migrants. You can be especially vulnerable if you don’t know your rights. That’s why I joined Unite. It’s important to know the union has got your back.

As part of the union, I’ve been involved in campaigns that have a huge impact on the daily lives of workers.

We recently ran a campaign on fair tipping. Waiting staff often have their tips stolen by their company from payments made by card. We were sick and tired of hearing about awful practices in the sector where it seemed obvious to us that front of house and kitchen staff should get the tips.

We focused on Pizza Express. We staged protests, got media interest and signed up the restaurant’s staff to the union.

The campaign for fair tips showed that collective, organised action can be really effective.

Customers started to ask where their money was going. Pizza Express dropped their so-called “admin fee” on card payments following our actions. So did the burger chain Giraffe. The government even published a report to promote fair tipping practices because of our campaign.

It showed me how much power we have. It highlighted the real benefits of trade unions to make serious, positive changes in people’s lives and be a force for good in society.

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