“If workers are not safe, customers are not safe”
May 20th: Trade union Unite, which represents workers in the hospitality and hairdressing sectors, has urged employers to engage with workers during the next number of weeks to ensure that workplaces offer a safe environment for workers and customers alike. Speaking today (Wednesday), Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said that hospitality and hairdressing workers deserved praise for the way they had handled the closure of their workplaces – which in many cases entailed the loss of employment – as part of the response to a public health emergency affecting us all:
“Hospitality and hairdressing workers are amongst the lowest-paid workers in the economy, and even before the pandemic hit many were on precarious contracts. As the public health emergency developed, they worked hard to keep their workplaces safe both for themselves and for customers.
“Following the closure of their workplaces, many employers were either unwilling or unable to move their workers to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and a large number of hospitality and hairdressing workers have been living on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment with no certainty regarding how long the payment will last, or if and when their workplaces will re-open.
“As workplaces prepare to re-open later in the summer, employers must use the intervening period to engage with their workers, not only to ensure that workplaces meet all public health guidelines but also to improve overall conditions in these sectors.
The Covid-19 emergency has taught us that if workers are not safe, customers are not safe”, Mr Byrne concluded.