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Hospitality Sector Woes Have Caused Huge Union Membership Spike

Mon Dec 07 2020

Trade Unions have reported surges in membership from the hospitality sector caused by concerns over COVID

Leading Membership Organisation Unite, with over a million private sector members, have reported that it’s membership base amongst the hospitality sector has increased by 11.4% since the start of the coronavirus global pandemic.

Unite has also released statements that workers from the construction, aviation and logistics sectors have been joining in their ‘tens of thousands’ as they are ‘very frightened’ for their jobs.

Unison, the largest UK trade union with over 1.4m members, has seen a net increase from last year of 16,000 members, which was 18% higher than the same period last year.

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Hospitality workers have been hit hard by Covid-19 with thousands of avoidable job losses alongside sharp practices like fire-and-rehire, refusals to furlough, and rewriting terms and conditions, so it’s not surprising many more are organising through trade unions to fight back. The pandemic has also exposed issues of low pay and insecure work which were already rife in the sector. We know that increasing levels of trade union membership helps to improve pay and standards so this must be a focus of Government action to support the sector’s recovery. My advice to anyone working in the sector is to join a trade union.

Patrick Harvie - Scottish Greens MSP

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In a press statement around the plight of hospitality workers in 2020, where it’s estimated 1 in 5 have lost their jobs, Unite said:

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Thousands of workers have lost their jobs unnecessarily at the hands of unscrupulous employers who would rather use COVID-19 as a cover to offload experienced workers rather than using the Job Retention Scheme to retain them. Those who are “lucky” enough to still have a job have had their hours cut, their holidays removed and their contracts made even more insecure. Many more have had to live on 80% of poverty pay, with no tips.

Bryan Simpson - Unite Hospitality Organiser

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Teachers Unions such as The National Education Union have also recorded massive spikes in membership during 2020. The NEU, representing over 450,000 teachers and other education professionals, have had 20,000 new members since the start of this years first lockdown. 

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Mon Dec 07 2020

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