These days hospitality work is almost synonymous with low-pay. This doesn’t only affect so-called unskilled jobs (cleaners, kitchen porters, housekeepers) and so-called vulnerable groups (women, migrants, young people).
Fighting for better pay is fighting for our work to be respected and against the divisions created among us. However, the immediate thing is that every worker should be paid enough have a decent living.
In this respect, we think a starting point to demand is the living wage calculated by the UK by the Living Wage Foundation, £8.45 per hour to be updated according to inflation. Sadly, in so many places this fails to happen and workers do not get even the National Minimum Wage, £7.50 (which the Government call Living Wage).
- Real Living Wage as minimum rate
- Minimum rate to be applied to all workers regardless gender, age, seniority, category or any other circumstance
Casualisation is widespread in hospitality, however, it is sold as “flexibility”. Practises like zero-hour contracts, agency work or “self-employment” are not a choice for many workers but an imposition from the bosses.
Lack of security at work puts us in a vulnerable position, less able to improve our working conditions or even confront the abuses of our bosses.
- No systematic use of casual work: agencies, zero-hour contracts, etc.
- Guaranteed hour contracts reflecting the real working time
- Casual and part-time workers to be offered full-time vacancies with priority
Our sector is as well known for the irregular and endless shifts. Apart from the fact that it is exhausting working in these conditions, it makes it really hard to plan our lives, particularly for those with families or people to care for.
It is usually said that nothing can be done as the workload can vary and, in some cases, they blame the co-workers for getting sick, going on holidays or leaving the job.
However, anyone who has worked in hospitality knows that most of the time this is due to poor planning and lack of staff.
- 20 minutes paid-break for each 4 hours worked
- 12 hours rest between shifts time-off compensation the same month
- Two weeks’ notice for shifts
- 50% extra pay for overtime or unannounced shifts
INFORMATION AND TRAINING
Most people working in hospitality are seen as “unskilled” workers (which as we have said is used to justify low pay and poor working conditions). There is also a culture in hospitality that divides us into different categories – chefs and porters, housekeepers and receptionists, different categories of front-of-house staff etc. It is important to challenge that culture by evaluating every job properly and giving people the chance to learn new skills.
Sadly, in so many workplaces we have to ask for something much more basic – getting trained for the job that you are actually supposed to do and not be ripped off with unpaid trials presented as “job offers”.
- Proper training to be provided by the employer and written certification
- No to unpaid trials
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- Health and Safety training to be provided by the employer
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to be provided by the employer
- 100% Sick pay from the first day