Unite the union to write to Hospitality businesses across Belfast area to request they sign up to raise the bar for workers
Hospitality Charter includes provisions such a Living Wage, guaranteed hours, action to challenge sexual harassment and trade union access
Unite’s Organiser for the Hospitality sector Neil Moore challenged Northern Ireland employers in the sector to ‘raise the bar’ on employment rights for all workers in the sector:
“Employers in the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland are reporting a widespread shortage of workers to take on essential responsibilities. They have no one to blame for this situation other than themselves. During the Covid lockdown bosses laid off thousands of workers; many of those whoretained workers under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme told those unhappy at receiving a bare 80 percent of the disgracefully low minimum wage that they should get work elsewhere. Of course many did and discovered that working elsewhere, in many cases call centres, was much preferable to their treatment in the hospitality sector.
“Employers know what needs to be done to address the staffing crisis. They must treat their workers with respect, pay them decently and act on the pervasive abuse and sexual harassment which has been normalised in this industry.
“To this end, Unite the union’s hospitality branch has produced a Charter setting out nine commitments we are asking employers to sign up to. As a union, we will be writing to hotels, pubs and restaurants across the greater Belfast area to ask they commit to raising the bar for hospitality workers.
“Our charter builds on research conducted by Unite where we surveyed hospitality workers on their experiences. The results were shocking. 46 percent of respondents were considering leaving the industry – with factors pushing workers out of the hospitality/service sector including stress (74 percent), excessive hours (61 percent), unsociable hours (58 percent), low pay (55 percent), bullying (44 percent) and lack of career progression opportunities (37 percent). A staggering 95 percent of hospitality workers reported experiencing sexual harassment or abuse at their workplace.
“The Unite hospitality charter is a way for progressive employers to tackle these challenging statistics. The nine points in the Charter are a commitment to pay a Living Wage, proper breaks and safe workplaces, fair rotas and notice to allow a work/life balance, a proactive zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and abuse of workers; paid transport home for workers finishing after 1pm; guaranteed hours and a ban on zero-hours contracts, no deductions from tips and service charges for staff; and trade union access. We are encouraging progressive employers to step forward and sign up to these basic principles so we can create a real future for an industry with huge potential”, Mr Moore concluded.