Ethical seafood restaurant uses tips to pay the minimum wage

A group of fish and seafood restaurants usually renowned for its ethically and environmentally aware practices was condemned by unions yesterday, after it emerged that it pays its staff at rates below the minimum wage.

The Loch Fyne group, which has long sold itself as a champion of marine conservation, relies on customer tips to boost the pay of its waiters and waitresses to a lawful level, the BBC reported.

The group, which has 44 restaurants across the country, describes itself as "an enterprise with respect for animals, people and ecology". But its waiting staff are paid only £5.05 an hour, below the legal minimum wage of £5.52. They are expected to make up the rest themselves in tips.

The revelations add further weight to The Independent's Fair Tips, Fair Pay campaign, which calls for fairer treatment of waiters and waitresses.