Worker safety urged as hospitality re-opens

25 May, 2020 by Andy Young

As venues across the country prepare to re-open their doors in line with their local rules and regulations, the United Workers Union has said the best interests of hospitality workers must be front and centre.

The hospitality union has said the steps to re-opening need to be done with clear safety regulations to protect the health of workers and the public.

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The union says that mandatory safety training needs to be urgently implemented, alongside the provision of paid pandemic leave for hospitality workers. It also urged businesses be required to register their capacity for patrons appropriate to their size and that this is be strictly enforced, adding there must be zero tolerance for non-compliance of venues to health and safety regulations.

Mel Gatfield, United Workers Union NSW spokesperson said: “With venues across NSW just a week away from this big step of re-opening to 50 patrons, regulations must urgently be put in place for workers to feel comfortable with ensuring their own safety and that of patrons.

“The NSW Government must implement mandatory training for all hospitality staff prior to any venue re-opening; mandate the provision of paid pandemic leave for all hospitality workers; and a zero-tolerance approach to any employer who does not comply.

“Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality workforce. Now, as restrictions are loosened this workforce is apprehensive. Members are very concerned about returning to work in confined spaces. Our hospitality members desperately need to get back to work and earn money and they want to see this industry bounce back – but need to have confidence employers will put their safety first.

“The hospitality industry has had an appalling track record when it came to looking after workers. Hospitality workers must be able to go back to work in hospitality venues from 1 June knowing that strict measures are in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

“And our hospitality members are determined to make sure the industry that reopens is much better, fairer and safer than the one that collapsed in March.”