Hospitality workers will be conducting survey by means street stalls, canvassing workplaces and online website
Union hopes that survey will ‘lift the lid’ on rampant sexual harassment and youth work exploitation
December 10th: Unite the union hospitality organiser Neil Moore, himself a bar worker, commented on the prevalence of sexual harassment in hotels, bars and restaurants in the region.
“Workers in hospitality are often at a total disadvantage when standing up for their basic rights. They often work under precarious contracts which mean that they have few guarantees or protections if they raise objections. A worker who is on a zero-hours contract finds it hard to stand-up for themselves to a boss who can decide – and often does – to punish them by withholding hours.
“Sexual harassment of staff is rampant – a Unite survey in Britain found 90% of hospitality workers of all genders have experienced sexual harassment; however female workers often experience the most sinister element. It’s viewed as part of the job. We’ve been getting our ‘know your rights’ booklet out all-over Belfast and almost everyone you meet has something to tell you about. That’s the reality of life for young hospitality workers in Belfast – it’s along-way from the picture portrayed by the industry bosses. Most workers we speak to, especially young workers have experience abuse; it’s run of the mill in the industry – in fact, I would say sexual harassment of workers is the dirty little secret of Hospitality in Ulster.
“Low wages, precarious conditions and disrespect that workers in the sector succumb to, often leave workers reliant on tips and feeling powerless to speak out against both their bosses and harassers for fear of losing out financially, having their hours cut or worse. We hope by this survey to lift the lid on what’s going on in this sector”, Mr Moore said.