Journalists at The Daily Mirror have accused The Independent of foul play over the title's 'Fair Tips, Fair Pay'campaign.
The Independent's campaign was launched a two weeks ago naming and shaming employers which don't let waiting staff keep their tips and calling for the government to end a loophole in minimum wage legislation which allows this to happen.
But according to Daily Mirror investigations editor Andrew Penman, The Independent was joining a campaign which trade union Unite had been running for some years and which The Daily Mirror joined back in April.
And he said The Independent's campaign launch article appeared to be based largely on research carried out by The Daily Mirror.
He told Press Gazette that The Independent's revelations about the tip policies at Carluccios, Cafe Rouge, Chez Gerard, Strada, CafÃ© Uno, Pizza Express, Georgetown and other restaurants were all based on various Daily Mirror exclusives.
He also said that The Independent's campaign was launched days after reports that Prime Minister Gordon Brown was likely to close the loophole in minimum pay law that allows restaurants to keep tips.
An announcement is expected to come on the tenth anniversary of the minimum wage.
He said: 'As a journalist seeing your work lifted, that happens but you can live with it. What's utterly disgraceful is taking over a campaign that's been run by Unite for several years – and doing so when you know that the PM has already said he's backing it."
No effort involved
'The only worthwhile campaigns are the ones you are going to struggle to win.
'This is a long-standing campaign that The Indy is trying to pass off as its own after it has already been
successful. It's like joining the Allied side in the Second World War on 28 April 1945."
Independent editor Roger Alton said the campaign was prompted by a piece written by Independent columnist Johann Hari. Alton said he was having lunch at the Groucho Club when the campaign idea was put to him and he decided to back it after talking to one of the waiters there.
He said: 'Nobody has nicked anyone else's research. This is complete bollocks. I can't believe newspapers are going around shit bagging other newspapers in order to protect people on the minimum wage."
But he added: 'I love The Mirror which is a paper which has a great history of campaigning on social justice."