TGI Fridays: Sheffield worker furious as American restaurant chain axes free meals for staff
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TGI Fridays has sparked fury from its workers after deciding to axe its free meals in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis for staff working a 10 hour plus shift.
However officials of the restaurant chain, which has two locations in the city, including Meadowhall's food court, and Sheffield Road, have defended its decision by stating it offers staff benefits which place it ‘among the best in the industry’, such as half price food, and free drinks.
A current employee in Sheffield said: “Head office can put any spin on this that they like but the fact still remains that they are taking free food away from managers and staff on minimum wage during a cost of living crisis.
“People might assume that management are all on salaries, but a lot of them are only on a couple of quid more than the staff on minimum wage and managers are set to lose thousands a pounds a year each in free food.
“Affordable food is not always easily accessible for team in some stores on their unpaid breaks and even when it is, it will still be costing us more money at a time when we are all struggling financially.
“We have already noticed the decline in tips since the pandemic, many of us have had our contracted guaranteed hours compromised and now this. It is getting harder to say we are proud to work for a company who is prioritising profit over their ‘family’ because a family wouldn’t behave like this.”
Sheffield councillor Minesh Parekh has called TGI’s decision ‘shocking’, particularly amid the cost-of-living crisis. He said: “The cost-of-living crisis is hitting low-paid workers hard; instead of helping them, TGI Fridays is taking away one of the few benefits their workers have. This decision is completely unfair, and particularly decision to happen during the cost-of-living crisis.
“We know that the cost-of-living crisis is driving more and more people into poverty. TGI Fridays’ decision to axe staff meals will only make things worse for low-paid workers.”
Unite the Union, which represents TGI Fridays workers, has launched an online petition calling on the firm to reinstate staff meals. The description reads: “Staff are rightly angry and frustrated that they will have to sacrifice more of their income to feed themselves at work in order to satisfy the profit margins of company executives.”
A TGI Fridays spokesperson said: “We recognise that these are challenging economic times and we will continue to strive to provide a great working environment. The wider benefits we offer are among the best in the industry. All staff continue to have access to 50% off all food items at any time and free drinks throughout shifts. Additionally, staff are able to bring five family or friends to receive the same discount, which they can use all year round as many times as they wish. This is something we increased from three guests last year in response to the cost-of-living crisis. We are exploring a number of other ways to support our staff, including promoting a good work/life balance.”