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HomePoliticalPost-Covid Hospitality Industry Must Clean Up Its Act - Unite Union

Post-Covid Hospitality Industry Must Clean Up Its Act – Unite Union


If the hospitality industry wants public and government
support for a pandemic recovery, it must clean up its
employment act according to Unite Union.

What was
already a bad situation became much worse as zero hour
contracts, illegal pay cuts, cancelled shifts and lack of
access to sick leave and rest breaks have seen the economic
burden shifted onto employees.

Since the first
lockdown Unite has been constantly contacted by hospitality
workers who know they have been treated unfairly but simply
don’t know what to do about it.

In response Unite
Union is rolling out mobile clinics across the country as
part of its “Hospo Help” project to support all
hospitality workers impacted by Covid-19 and its economic
impact. On Friday 16th April from 2 to 4pm it is holding its
first mobile clinic on Dominion Road where hospo workers can
get free advice and support.

“Dominion Road is
notorious for low wages and poor conditions. The ‘Dominion
Road Rate’ is well known as an under the table hourly
rate, usually 50% below the minimum wage.”

But Unite
says the problems go much wider than just super-exploited
migrant workers, with many large, well established
hospitality businesses simply ignoring basic employment
law.

“There is plenty of noise from hospitality
businesses about what they need, but what we have seen is
the already low paid and overworked employees bearing most
of the brunt. They have lost jobs, hours, pay and
conditions, often without any consultation and in breach of
both their employment agreements and the law. As an industry
they must clean up their act if they want the rest of the
country to help them out.”

The most common problems
reported are:

– illegal pay cuts for hospitality
workers widespread during and after lockdowns,


having zero hour contracts – no or few guaranteed hours but
being forced to be available for work and refused time off
when requested,

– not getting rest breaks as required
under the law – some employment agreements openly state that
breaks may not be given as required if its too busy,


rosters with no set shift finish times,

– being
bullied into coming to work sick – even in the midst of a
world-wide pandemic,

– having shifts cancelled and not
getting compensated as their agreements and the law
requires.

The continued use of de-facto “zero
hour” contracts is a major problem as employees are
deceived into thinking they have to work whatever hours are
offered each week, sometimes up to 50 hours. When business
dipped workers suddenly found shifts cancelled and were left
with little or no income.

“In many cases once we
looked at the employment agreements it was clear that all
employees at a business were in the same situation – zero or
very few guaranteed hours, but illegally forced or bullied
to show up for all shifts at the employers whim each
week.”

Unite organises thousands of hospitality
workers in fast food chains, hotels, casinos and cinemas,
but the vast majority of hospitality workers have no access
to collective bargaining, union or any independent advice or
support. With the support of MBIE’s Covid Fund Unite is
reaching out to those workers to help them cope with the
pandemic’s impact.

“Our main aim is educate these
workers on their basic employment rights and to give them
practical tools to fix the problems they have. We simply do
not have the resources to take legal cases for every hospo
worker with a problem, but we can give them advice and find
them the support they
need.”

© Scoop Media

 



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