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UPDATE: Pusser’s workers upset over removal of service charge

-Charles S. Tobias said service charge removed as it penalised good workers and rewarded bad ones
Owner of Pusser's Charles S. Tobias has confirmed that the entity has removed the service charge levied on customers. Photo: Google
Workers of Pusser’s today April 27, 2015 turned up at the Labour Department seeking its intervention into industrial relations issues arising between the employer and themselves. Photo: VINO/File
Workers of Pusser’s today April 27, 2015 turned up at the Labour Department seeking its intervention into industrial relations issues arising between the employer and themselves. Photo: VINO/File
When this news site visited the Department the workers, all female, said that they came to the Department for its help and representation and said that they hope to have the matter resolved soon. Photo: VINO/File
When this news site visited the Department the workers, all female, said that they came to the Department for its help and representation and said that they hope to have the matter resolved soon. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Workers of Pusser’s are peeved that the company has withdrawn the service charge levied on patrons and which went towards workers’ pay cheques. They claim it is an unfair measure which has left them unable to meet their living expenses.

Last week Monday April 27, 2015, a contingent of workers took their complaints to the Labour Department for its intervention. This news site understands there was a meeting involving the Labour Department, the employees and the employer.

Speaking to this news site yesterday, many employees, mainly females, described what is happening at the business as unfair and called on the Labour Department to intervene.

Not wanting their names published, the women said they find it hard to pay bills, alleging that without the service charge it is hard for them to meet their financial obligations with just the minimum wage they collect.

They feel aggrieved that they have to work in difficult conditions and “make miracles happen” to please customers of the establishment.

Withdrawal of service charge

Contacted today May 5, 2015, Pusser’s owner Charles S. Tobias told this news site that he said what he had to say to the Labour Department and that’s the end of the matter for him.

Asked whether it is true the service charge had been withdrawn, he said, “Yes, that’s true…the mandatory service charge has been withdrawn.” However he said the employees still benefit from voluntary service charges in the form of tips.

Tobias said the company has made a decision to withdraw the service charge because the level of the service has dropped and the good workers are being penalised and the bad ones rewarded. He said the amount of money collected as service charge was greater than 15 percent. “But what happened when we put the mandatory service charge on, our service has gone down,” he said.

Poor service must improve

“What was happening was that those that were doing a poor job were being rewarded while the good ones were being penalised,” said Tobias. He said that the company gets nothing from the service charge but it is unfair to ask customers to pay for bad service. “We get no net gain from this at all,” he said.

He believes that with the change the workers who really deserve the extra money will earn it through their tips while those who do not will earn less on the side.

He is hopeful that with the change in the arrangement the service will go back “to the way it was before". 

Asked about the complaint to the Labour Commissioner, Mr Tobias said that while the Labour Department has its duties to perform, he is running his business within the law.

Efforts to reach Labour Commissioner Janice I. F. Rymer for a comment regarding the issues raised by the Pusser’s employees proved futile.

See previous story published on April 27, 2015:

Pusser’s employees take complaints to Labour Dept

- say the owner of the business Charles S. Tobias is just telling his side of the story

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Workers of Pusser’s today April 27, 2015 turned up at the Labour Department seeking its intervention into industrial relations issues arising between them and their employer, Charles S. Tobias.

When this news site visited the Department the workers, all female, said they came to the Department for its help and representation and said they hope to have the matter resolved soon.

The refused to comment officially to this news site or to say what exactly the issue was, saying that they want to give the Department a chance to resolve their grievance between employer and employees before speaking to the media. However, they did venture to say that Chairman of Pusser’s Store and Pub, Charles S. Tobias was giving just one side of the story to the media.

When contacted today, Tobias said that he could not comment and that the news site should contact him tomorrow or another day. Tobias had told this news site that he had plans to provide insurance coverage for his employees and go the extra mile to ensure that they remain with the business as they were his most valuable assets.

Many of the women who were there said they have been working with Pussers almost all their adult lives.

Efforts to reach Labour Commissioner Janice I. F. Rymer for a comment regarding the Pusser’s employees proved futile.

Earlier this month, Tobias denied having sold the business, saying he was seeking investors to help build the brand and take it where he wants it to go. He said he had had some offers over the years but refused to take them as he did not feel they were the right fit.

68 Responses to “UPDATE: Pusser’s workers upset over removal of service charge”

  • staff (27/04/2015, 15:23) Like (40) Dislike (48) Reply
    He is an ndp nothing will happen
  • xxxxxxxx (27/04/2015, 17:02) Like (21) Dislike (7) Reply
    This seems like women POWER
    • let the sun shine (06/05/2015, 08:04) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
      Sorry ladies, but you are just going to have to step up your game and give good service, it would appear as though you are getting very little sympathy from the readers. Do your job, if you don't like it then go look for another one - its not rocket science.

      Oh - and please pay tax on what you actually earn, like the rest of us!
  • ooooo (27/04/2015, 17:39) Like (30) Dislike (37) Reply
    waste ah time ayo going to the NDP for help because they only protect sharks
  • West side (27/04/2015, 18:08) Like (29) Dislike (4) Reply
    Pussers have some donkeys for managers they cant even stand up the staffs.
    • ALSO (28/04/2015, 08:13) Like (116) Dislike (2) Reply
      they have some pigs for staff, some have been there for many years and think they can do as they please. It takes two to tango!
      • dj (05/05/2015, 17:11) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply

        Yes they are p*g$, i went there a couple of time and i could not believe how n@$ty the staff attitude is.I must say it is the worst customer service i have ever seen in my life.Take away the tips too, they don't deserved anything extra..

  • on the cays (27/04/2015, 18:40) Like (20) Dislike (17) Reply
    Where is the Labour minister?
  • apple (27/04/2015, 20:25) Like (35) Dislike (3) Reply
    Sad to hear this about Pussers I believe it’s just some silly managers causing this havoc, while Tobias has to take the licks. Tobias better get up and make some changes before he get short change.
    From a dish washer to a cook, then a manager...HUU that can really change people;
    • Expat (29/04/2015, 08:31) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
      From a maintainance to a cook. All the toilet cleaners cooking in the kitchen. The manager does that. She cutting cost Tobias
      • apple (29/04/2015, 16:04) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
        Really! So where is the health inspector? This one I won't never support; never!
  • True (27/04/2015, 21:16) Like (65) Dislike (8) Reply
    perhaps if the staff were better at their jobs instead of just adding 15% service for surly service they might get on better with the managers. The reality is they have been there years and the service is terrible, new managers step in to fix the problem and they all go running to labor!
  • ok (27/04/2015, 21:21) Like (17) Dislike (8) Reply
    Hire new staff.
    Problem fixed.
    No more problem.
    New owners.
    • @ ok (27/04/2015, 22:59) Like (11) Dislike (10) Reply
      Give me a break!!! this how you treat people who have been working for u for years?
      • Lily Ann (07/05/2015, 10:43) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        So his business must fall and crumble on the hands of lazy grumpy staff whos working there for years ??? NO ..... I'm for change, Let him do what is necessary to keep his business afloat !!!!
  • wize up (27/04/2015, 22:18) Like (3) Dislike (60) Reply

    these w***e folks need to stop exploiting our people be them citizen or non citizen of BVI......making millions of the backs of our people; and labour department will do nothing(free wings & pizzas).....them you have set of jack-@&& blogging dumb !*ck...

  • THOT Provoking (28/04/2015, 05:38) Like (4) Dislike (16) Reply

    You will have some Uncle Tom locals and government official who will ignore these complaints. Majority will come from ex pats

  • suzie (28/04/2015, 09:27) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply

    Labour officials got P*$$3rs discount cards.

  • Ok Then! (28/04/2015, 09:56) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply

    For everyone's information- Labour don't give a $h£$ about the employee; if you read the Act carefully, its more beneficial to the Employer.

  • water (28/04/2015, 12:17) Like (4) Dislike (15) Reply
    Labour is a joke, don't waste ayo time, this Government is incompetent!
  • the only one (28/04/2015, 16:39) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply

    I have been working wit Pusser's for 10 yes.and it not easy.we have No representation.No Respect.wit Managers espically at Marina Cay. Wen we have an @$$.for a ca****.disrespecting everybody guest.managers and staff.always drunk on the Job.and we cannot even complain to anybody.so it true pusser's Need some good respectfully Managers.we the Staff try our best.we try to do our best and No One appreicate Us.

    • Huu (29/04/2015, 05:18) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
      It is a true statement. How the Hell some People becomes managers at Pussers. Marina Cay is a Mess for sure I been there; Oh and that Boat...lol
    • Jones (29/04/2015, 07:18) Like (19) Dislike (3) Reply
      You there to do a job, do it properly with impeccable service and you wont have a problem. Go there and think you are owed the world and there comes the problem.
    • explain (09/05/2015, 20:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Why did you choose it stay there for all these years? You made a choice to stay knowing the situation so make the choice to leave..✴
  • Sassy (28/04/2015, 23:40) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    Pussers just need a make over
  • Serpico (05/05/2015, 15:11) Like (2) Dislike (11) Reply
    We still on the plantation
  • Wait (05/05/2015, 15:16) Like (28) Dislike (2) Reply
    Does the labour code mandate a service charge? If this was éxtra then he has all right to remove it. You can't pay your bills get another job. Where do we get this stupid mentality? This is why we need to teach our kids that education is important.
  • Amethyst (05/05/2015, 15:17) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't pay for bad service, no matter whether an establishment charges one or not, they do not have the right. And yes, I agree it should be removed.
  • Enforcement is Key (05/05/2015, 15:47) Like (36) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great work Pusser's. Tips should never be mandatory and are precisely what he (Charles) states. It is for service above and beyond. He is correct in saying his service has gone down and now he is doing the correct thing to bring up service. An employee in any institution needs to know as long as they are doing a good job, then and only then should they remain in the position. We are a service society and surely understand this. Gone are any days of entitlement.
  • from here (05/05/2015, 16:02) Like (29) Dislike (0) Reply
    Service in the BVI sucks and I hate to pay extra for bad service... if they do a good job they get tips whats wrong with that ? They have no case
  • Former Waitress (05/05/2015, 16:09) Like (44) Dislike (0) Reply
    HI Pussers, before I finished school I waitressed. Pussers has good wait-staff and bad-wait staff and I hate to get the bad ones. They ignore you. They are obnoxious, slow and even impatient... when dealing with customers. The others can be very nice. ANYWAY.

    When I worked as a waitress there was NO service charge. We just earned tips. And because of this. I hustled to be courteous and considerate with ALL of my customers regardless of order size, table size, race, ethnicity, local, tourist or international... I hope yall can keep up with the times. Charles is early thats all it is... Soon other restaurants in the Territory will follow. Me? I can't wait to eat at the new tip-earning Pussers. Let me see if there will be a good change in some of the bad attitudes.
  • my 2 cents (05/05/2015, 16:28) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    As a customer I would like to have the right to choose whether or not I tip and how much based on the service I received. Recently I visited a restaurant for the first time and lets just say I won't ever go back. From the beginning there were no preparations for my reservation, We sat ourselves, the hostess finally came to us and promised to bring menus and never came back with them, the food took a long time and when it came the order was wrong (error of the chef), he did come to us directly to apologise and rectify it but when we finally got the food it wasn't even good..talk about a bad experience and there was a mandatory 15% service charge. We probably would have tipped the young lady who tried helping us but we should have had the option to choose. I don't see why I should HAVE TOO tip a snobby, rude, or lazy staff member when I walk away from an establishment unsatisfied.
    • HAHA (05/05/2015, 17:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      tips might appear on the bill but they are not mandatory...you can refuse to pay them, and there is nothing anyone can do about it...according to the new labour code, an establishment has to report employees tips to inland revenue...this is generally only able to be done on tips paid for by credit card, not tips left on the table or handed to the waitstaff...ultimately this delays the tips from getting to the waitstaff in a timely manner...and the establishment is entitled by the labour code to 7.5% of the tips for doing the paperwork given to inland revenue
      • Jones (05/05/2015, 19:50) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
        Some places charge a tip, but the bill says tax so that our visitors think that they are paying a government tax and then leave an additional tip. Its a rip off.
  • resident (05/05/2015, 16:40) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is not a problem you get tips according to your performance stop complaining work for what you want
  • BVI to the world (05/05/2015, 16:50) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    What is the complaining all about work for what you want according to your performance y'll be tips people don't tip if you don't deserve it how it's only fair when others perform at that professional level an you don't why should MY tips be shared with you.the owner is correct he is real why should Government get involved
  • Sony (05/05/2015, 17:05) Like (2) Dislike (9) Reply
    I have no problem with him taking away the service charge but y should i have to leave the company 20%at everyshift for a job i burst my behind for remember there a three side mine his and ours he use to take seven percent for himself so wat he talking about he stop taking it from he remove service charge
  • shame.... (05/05/2015, 17:06) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now the staff actually has to EARN a tip by providing good service. What's the problem here?
  • Sassy (05/05/2015, 17:57) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply

    Everyone putting their 2cent has anyone stop and see that the prices has gone up from firday last week so whos making all the money for weeks now the managers been telling the staff c***** coming out with a letter its so nasty when u all read it either u stay and take the sh*t or pack yur bags and leave thats no way to speak to yur stuff

  • Me (05/05/2015, 17:59) Like (0) Dislike (14) Reply
    For a man who say he loves the BVI.what childish act grow up,
  • Me Me (05/05/2015, 18:03) Like (1) Dislike (12) Reply
    Ha ha ha ha Charles you are a fool
  • kids (05/05/2015, 18:05) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I like that cause the service there dont be good it have two older ladies i like there one from st kitts and one from dominica great service from both but earn your tip stop complaining be good to customers now then earn a tip
  • lord-o (05/05/2015, 18:12) Like (21) Dislike (3) Reply
    Its a simple solution--make the minimum wage $7.50 per hour for restaurant and hotels that don't collect service charge--and six dollars per hour for those that collect service charge for their workers---even though some workers service is so poor they shouldn`t even be in the service business--while some are very good. fire those workers that`s running you customers. Treat those that keep them coming back good.
  • homegrown (05/05/2015, 18:29) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Many times I paid for my food and deduct the service charge...those people are hogs and now the will have to actually earn their tips
  • Sonia (05/05/2015, 19:36) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    also i agree with you they really hoggish down there now especially the tall blue one from s. .....
  • money ting (05/05/2015, 19:54) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sum of dem jus too greedy, dey only care about dere pockets been full. And sum of dem too rude and nasty
  • Jane (05/05/2015, 22:08) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    I glad they remove the service charge. I never use to pay it, if I was not happy with my services. Tips should be up to the customers discretion not the establishment insisting the customers pay additional fee for food to be passed to them. I think most customers who get timely and polite service will leave a tip.
  • Lazy Azz (05/05/2015, 22:21) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    I usually tip 20-25%, 30% for exceptional service. You provide great service, you don't need a mandatory service charge. I have, on several occasions refused to pay a "mandatory service charge" due to terrible service. "Call the cops, I'll wait". If good service is provided, a good tip will appear. I applaud Mr Tobias. Hint: Ever notice how well ex pat servers and bartenders live on their pay and tips?? Because they know how to provide SERVICE rather than the typical BVI attitude of "SERVE US"
  • Del (05/05/2015, 22:51) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    The bar at Wes stinks alot
  • Jill (05/05/2015, 23:43) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    When I sit at the bar I get better service the dominica bartender is very good she is not grumpy like some of them
  • Rusty (06/05/2015, 03:04) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    The fact of the matter is that Pussers has become a high priced , poor service business.Therefore adding on the 15% makes the business very uncompetitive. He forgot that locals are a very big part of his customer base.
    Go back to basic, good quality food, good customer service, competitive pricing and don't forget that how you treat your staff. Provide basic ustomer ervice training for your managers first and then the rest of the staff.
  • Truth (06/05/2015, 10:22) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I understand what Mr. Tobias is saying. In the BVI, especially at Pussers the level of service stinks, that's because the staff is comfortable, they don't have to work for it, or provide good service or food, it they had to they would be doing better, its unfortunate that this had to be done but throughout the BVI this is becoming a serious problem, a tip is worked for and it depends on the type/level of service given I think everyone needs to go back to those days especially to improve our staff and also to weed out the non-performers.
  • WTF (06/05/2015, 10:58) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Kudos to Charles Tobias. I hate being charged a mandatory gratuity, when the service is nothing to be grateful for. I have no problem tipping generously when the service is excellent. I also verbally thank the staff individually if the service was above board. So yes, Gratuity should be a choice. Thank you Charles.
  • Kermit (06/05/2015, 14:08) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Honestly the way the service be sometimes i be lil vex that they force the tip out of me with the service charge, cause if was up to me i wouldn't leave back a dime... Give me decent service and i'll give you a decent tip. Smile once in ah while, be attentive, be pleasant in the way you communicate, i mean is simple things does impress me. I know some aspects of the job sucks, u might be lil frustrated at how your life is going.. I am too, but when i go out to eat is money i spending, so at least let me feel good about it.
  • STUDENY!! (06/05/2015, 15:54) Like (0) Dislike (10) Reply
    THERE IS A SAYING WHEN YOU PAY PEANUTS YOU GET MONKEYS.

    MOST OF THESE ESTABLISHMENTS TREAT PEOPLE LIKE DOGS

    IT'S A SHAME WHEN SOME OF THESE SO CALL W%%$# FOLKS COME TO THESE LITTLE ISLANDS AND THINK THEY ARE BIGGER THAN ANYONES ELSE.
  • Resident Yacht Captain (07/05/2015, 18:25) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    What a lot of you posters do not realize, the service charge is normally shared between ALL the workers in the restaurant, not just the waitresses. If you remove the service charge, the cooks and cleaners are the real loosers, not the waitresses........
  • Manir (07/05/2015, 20:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The service charge in put into place to insure the workers got their fair share of the tips. Some horrible workers were getting over like fat cats on the backs of the hard workers who do an excellent job by sharing the tips equally. Now by stopping the service charge being included, the bad workers will get what they deserve, but this means that the owners can once again keep the tips for themselves. The is a catch 22.
  • Wait (08/05/2015, 02:02) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Don't pay the tips u don't no what u will be eating lol never trust a waitress. Give the girls.their tips or cook home


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