Hospitality: New Unite survey reveals high levels of low pay, bullying and discrimination

As indoor hospitality re-opens, over half of respondents report non-adherence to Covid guidelines

July 26th: Unite, which represents hospitality workers, today (Monday) released the findings of a survey of hospitality workers in the sector.  As indoor hospitality re-opens, the research presents a worrying picture of an industry characterised by low pay, bullying and discrimination against women and migrant workers.  The report, Hidden Truths: the reality of work in Ireland’s hospitality and tourism sector, is available for download here.  Scroll down for a summary of the findings.

Commenting on the findings, Unite Hospitality and Tourism Coordinator Julia Marciniak said:

“This survey helps provide a solid evidence base for what hospitality workers have always known:  the sector is dominated by low pay, insecure contracts and poor working practices, bullying and discrimination.   It is clear that we need to re-boot the sector to ensure that it provides good jobs.

“As indoor hospitality re-opens today, it is particularly worrying that over half of those who responded to Unite’s survey reported a lack of adherence to Covid safety guidelines, with nearly 55% lacking easy access to hygiene facilities.  The pandemic has shown us that, if workers are not safe no-one is safe”, Ms Marciniak said.

Karen Doyle is Secretary of Unite’s Hospitality and Tourism Branch, and added:

“The findings from this survey are stark and point not only to high levels of low pay but also to a widespread lack of respect for basic workers’ rights, from appropriate break times to Sunday premium payments.

“This survey has uncovered the hidden truths experienced by many hospitality workers in Ireland.  Unite is determined to continue giving a voice to the workers who are the backbone of one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors”, Ms Doyle concluded.

Summary of survey findings:

  • 55.6% were paid less than €12.30 per hour
  • 70% cited a lack of breaks during their working day.
  • 75% do not receive premium payment for Sunday.
  • 50% do not receive their tips and are unaware of practices in their workplace; they therefore have no control over where their tips go.
  • 72% say their workplace is deliberately understaffed, leading to an overload of tasks and demands on workers.
  • 70% experience bullying, with up to 55% not reporting incidents due to a fear of repercussions or lack of trust that anything will change.
  • 80% of workers declared that working in the industry had a negative impact on their mental health and well-being.
  • 52% of respondents believes that migrant workers were treated worse than non-migrant workers.
  • 65% of workers surveyed said they had no work life balance and experienced unsocial working hours as a constant.
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