Politicians and employers must consult with hospitality workers and their unions to make sure reopening is safe and successful

Neil Moore, Unite hospitality organiser

Executive announcement comes as welcome relief but hospitality workers need clarity on safety measures and timetable

Decision to bring forward reopening date ahead of schedule demonstrates Executive does not have a plan for reopening

Reacting to this afternoon’s Executive announcement on proposed dates for the reopening of the hospitality sector, Unite the Union urges ministers to consider workers first and foremost in any reopening plans.

Amy Ferguson Unite Hospitality Branch Secretary, and a barista herself, said:

Today’s news has come as a welcome relief to many workers in hospitality who have faced a year of insecurity and uncertainty driven by necessary measures to bring the pandemic under control – though worsened by precarity and poor employment practices within the industry.”

“To see our jobs once again leveraged to push a ‘reopen at all costs’ narrative is galling. Our members have faced job losses, reduced hours and living on less than 80% of the paltry minimum wage for the best part of a year. While most look forward to getting back to work, not only do they need a timetable on when they will return, but clarity on the measures in place to safeguard them against the continued threat of COVID.”

Unite’s Organiser for the Hospitality sector Neil Moore added:

Workers in hospitality welcome the indicative dates for reopening their industry and getting back to work. However they also have understandable worries, based on previous experience upon the lifting of restrictions, that employers cannot be relied upon to implement necessary social distancing and health & safety measures.”

“The decision to bring forward the date for reopening of outdoor hospitality sector is concerning as it demonstrates that the Executive has no real plan. We have a younger workforce in hospitality with 44% of workers under the age of 35. Many workers are still waiting to receive their vaccine and will be waiting some weeks to avail of it. Both customers and workers will feel safer knowing proper safety measures are in place and that staff and customers are fully vaccinated – we do not want a situation where unscrupulous employers can destroy confidence in our industry. The politicians and employers both need to consult with hospitality workers and their unions to make sure reopening is safe and successful.”

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