Unite has called on the government to create a task force to support hospitality workers who face redundancy as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak's detrimental effect on business.
Many pubs, bars and restaurants are almost empty following the government's recommendation to stay away from spaces such as pubs and restaurant to prevent COVID-19 spreading.
Unite national officer for the food and drink industry Joe Clarke said: "We are very concerned about the prime minister's advice to stay away from pubs, restaurants and theatres without announcing at the same time a contingency package, including financial support, for staff who may be laid off without any arrangements for their salary to be paid. "This could have a major adverse impact of their ability to pay mortgages and rent, and provide for their families." Unite has recommended a cross-party task force be set up with representatives from the UK and Scottish governments, trade unions, trade bodies, UKHospitality and the Scottish Tourism Alliance.
It also wants to implement a five-point action plan that includes: • Removing the £114 threshold for statutory sick pay (SSP) • Full company sick pay: 75% from government and 25% from employer • No opportunistic redundancies • Personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the role • Engage with workers who know the industry as to how to save it
Dave Turnball, the Unite officer with responsibility for hospitality, said: "The hospitality industry is under grave threat and that's why we are calling today for this task force to be set up to take urgent action to protect workers in a sector which is a major generator of wealth for the economy."
Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest union and the second largest in the UK. It was formed in 2007 and has 1.2 million members.