Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull said: “The imposition of further lockdown measures in London will have a devastating impact on the thousands of workers whose jobs depend on the capital’s already stricken hospitality industry. 

“While it is essential that the public and the NHS are protected from the worst effects of this terrible virus, these restrictions must be accompanied by immediate support for hospitality jobs. 

“Not to do so risks a tidal wave of job losses, as businesses struggle to survive under even harsher constraints and a further downturn in trade. Thousands of hospitality workers, who earn an average wage of just £8.84 per hour and often do not have guaranteed hours, will be plunged below the poverty line if urgent help is not forthcoming.

“Within the next few days, ministers must extend the support provided for workers in tier three areas to those in tier two. This is especially crucial for London, where hospitality is a hugely important part of the economy. 

“Even granting this brief modicum of relief, however, will fall disastrously short of what is needed to keep the hospitality sector afloat in the medium term. Low paid workers will not be able to survive for long on just two thirds of their wages, even if they do manage to retain their jobs.  

“That is why Unite is calling for the urgent introduction of a wide-ranging rescue package for UK hospitality, including a sector specific job retention scheme that supports at least 80 per cent of wages for furloughed staff."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Unite is calling for a ‘Hospitality Rescue Package’ which urges the government to implement the following:

A sector-specific Job Retention Scheme

Extend the full Job Retention Scheme for the hospitality industry across the nation for a further six months, retaining the 80% wages support currently received for furloughed workers.

Adequate sick pay and routine tests for hospitality workers

Statutory sick pay should be raised to full pay for any worker required to self-isolate due to the pandemic. As part of an overall improvement in the UK’s testing capacity, the government should aim to test frontline hospitality staff once every fortnight (on top of the current testing requirements).

Train for the future

The government to work with Unite’s proposed Hospitality Commission to establish a plan to retrain workers who lose their jobs to ensure they do not face long-term unemployment.

Hospitality Commission 

Tripartite working between employers, unions and government immediately established to help secure and ensure both the immediate and long-term success of the sector.

Conditionality of the scheme 

Support for companies via the Hospitality Job Retention Scheme should be made available on the condition that employers improve terms, conditions and pay of workers.

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.