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Minister for Tourism acknowledges Hospitality Sector Abuse – Ó Clochartaigh

26 October, 2017 - by Trevor Ó Clochartaigh


Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish version follows

Sinn Féin Senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has welcomed the acknowledgement by Minister for Tourism, Shane Ross’ that there are serious issues of abuse in the hospitality sector in Ireland which need to be addressed. 

Speaking after a meeting this week between Minister Ross and members of the Hospitality Workers Campaign Group, the Galway West – South Mayo Senator says:

“The survey of Hospitality Workers that we did in Galway earlier this year highlights a very high level of verbal, physical and sexual abuse in restaurants and hotels in Galway, as well as a culture of disregard for basic workers’ rights and a fear amongst employees to speak out and stand up for themselves.

“The delegation who met the Minister comprised of whistleblowers, union representatives, migrant worker advocates, concerned workers and academics.

“Our survey revealed some dramatic evidence relating to physical and sexual abuse, harassment and negligence, with 78% of respondents reporting experiencing verbal abuse in the workplace; 36% reported experiencing sexual harassment or abuse as well; and 65% of respondents experienced negligence. 

“Employers flagrantly disregard basic workers’ rights as well. 45% of respondents were not given a written statement of terms of their employment within the first two months and 18% did not receive a regular payslip. Almost 60% claimed not to receive the statutory 15-minute break after four and a half hours work; 50% did not get a 30-minute break after six hours worked; and almost 50% did not receive their entitlement to nine public holidays per year. 

“Almost 50% did not receive 11 consecutive hours of rest between shifts; 44% of respondents reported the employer using the rota as a negative control mechanism; 34% reported the withholding of tips; and 28% reported being underpaid.

“Less than 5% of respondents were members of a trade union and for the vast majority of transgressions, the perpetrator was someone in a position of authority over the worker, either a supervisor, manager or owner; 60% of respondents chose not to report incidents and the main reasons for non-reporting were a belief it would make no difference, fear of repercussions, or lack of evidence.

“The Campaign members discussed the workings of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) with the Minister and the difficulties experienced in enforcing rulings, even where workers have the courage to pursue their rights at this forum.

“The campaign recognises the importance of our hospitality sector and the significant revenue which it generates in Irish tourism. Improving industry standards in pay and conditions will lead to lower turnover of staff and will be an important factor in enhancing customer experience.

“The delegation urged the Minister to take action to bring about change in the Sector, including the commissioning of research to establish the extent of the issues, the establishment of a Sectoral Joint Labour Committee, increased inspection and enforcement powers for the WRC and intervention by the Minister to encourage key stakeholders to embark on a programme of culture change for the benefit of all. 

“Dr Deirdre Curran of NUIG who was part of the delegation said, ‘As an academic with expertise in employment relations and employment law, I was shocked to see the evidence of abuse and exploitation in the survey findings. We need more evidence to establish the extent of these problems’. 

“The delegation, led by Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh and Eva Mitchell (whistleblower), included Ed Kenny (SIPTU Hospitality Sector Organiser) and Tim Herlihy (SIPTU NEC Member). They were accompanied by Marius Marosan (Romanians in Ireland), and Kasia Szewczuk (Migrant Workers Advocate), and Dr Deirdre Curran from NUI Galway They received a very considered hearing and the Minister committed to raising the issues with relevant ministerial colleagues and to encourage employer bodies to engage in discussions with the Campaign.”

Aithníonn an tAire Turasóireachta Mí-úsáid san Earnáil Fháilteachais – Ó Clochartaigh

Tá fáilte curtha ag Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, roimh an t-aitheantas atá tugtha ag an Aire Turasóireachta, Shane Ross go bhfuil ceisteanna tromchúiseacha mí-úsáide le freagairt ag earnáil an Fháilteachais in Éirinn.  

Ag labhairt dó i ndiaidh cruinniú an tseachtain seo idir an tAire Ross agus baill don Ghrúpa Feachtais d’Oibrithe Fháilteachais, deir Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas:  

“Léiríonn torthaí an tsuirbhé ar oibrithe fháilteachais a rinne muid i nGaillimh níos túisce i mbliana go bhfuil leibhéil an-ard mí-úsáide ó bhéil, fisiciúil agus gnéis le sonrú i mbialanna agus óstáin i nGaillimh, maraon le cultúr neamhairde le brath do bhun chearta fostaíochta agus faitíos ar oibrithe cur ar a son féin, nó labhairt amach faoi seo. 

“Ar an dtoscaireacht a chas leis an Aire bhí lucht séidte feadóige, ionadaithe ceardchumainn, abhcóidí d’oibrithe imirceacha, oibrithe fáilteachais agus acadóirí. 

“Léirigh suirbhé s’againne sonraí drámatúla maidir le mí-úsáid fhisicúil agus gnéis, ciapadh agus faillí, le 78% de fhreagróirí ag tuairisciú eachtraí d’íde béil san láthair oibre; 36% ag tuairisciú ciapadh nó mí-úsáide gnéis; agus 65% de fhreagróirí ag rá go ndéantar faillí orthu. 

“Tá neamhaird ollmhór dhá léiriú ag fostóirí do bhunchearta oibrithe chomh maith. Deir 45% de fhreagróirí nár tugadh téarmaí fostaíochta scríofa dóibh laistigh den chéad dá mhí agus ní bhfuair 18% acu duillín pá go rialta. Deir beagnach 60% nach bhfuair siad an briseadh reachtúil 15 nóiméad is cóir i ndiaidh cheithre h-uaire go leith oibre; 50% nach bhfuair briseadh leathuaire i ndiaidh sé uair a chloig oibre; agus 50% nach bhfuair an naoi lá saoire bainc poiblí atá dlite dóibh in aghaidh na bliana. 

“Deir beagnach 50% nach bhfuair siad an sos scíthe de 11 uair a chloig gur chóir dóibh idir sealanna oibre; deir 44% de fhreagróirí go n-úsáideann an fostóir an clár ama mar mhodh smachta ar bhealach diúltach;  34% a thuairisc go gcoinnítear siar ‘tips’ uathu; agus 28% nach bhfuair an pá a bhí dlite dóibh.

“Ni raibh ach 5% de fhreagróirí ina mbaill de cheardchumann agus ins an chuid is mó de na sáraithe, ba duine i ról údarásach ar an bhfostaí -  saoiste, bainisteoir nó úinéara - a rinne an dochar. Shocraigh 60% de fhreagróirí gan eachtraí a thuairisciú ag rá gurb iad na cúiseanna ba mhó leis seo ná gur chreid siad nach ndéanfadh sé aon difríocht, le teann faitíos faoi céard a tharlódh mar thoradh air, nó de bharr easpa fianaise.

“Phléigh baill an fheachtais cur chuige an Coimisiún um Chaidreamh san Ionad Oibre (WRC) leis an Aire agus na deacrachtaí a bhíonn ann na rialaithe a thugann siad a chur i bhfeidhm, fiú nuair a bhíonn sé de mhisneach ag oibrithe an bóthar seo a leanúint. 

“Aithníonn lucht an fheachtas tábhacht earnáil an fháilteachais agus an teacht isteach suntasach a chothaíonn sé d’earnáil na turasóireachta in Éirinn. Beidh tionchar dearfach ar thaithí custaiméirí ag cur i bhfeidhm caighdeáin níos fearr sa tionscal ó thaobh tuarastail agus coinníollacha oibre agus bheadh níos lú athruithe foirne dhá bharr.  

“Chuir an toscaireacht ina luí ar an Aire gur gá dó gníomhú chun athruithe cleachtais a chur chun cinn san earnáil agus moltar go ndéanfaí coimisiúnú ar thaighde chun méid na sáraithe a thaifead, go mbunófaí Comhchoiste Saothar don Earnáil, breis cumhachtaí cigireachta agus forfheidhmithe a thabhairt don WRC agus go dtabharfadh an tAire na geallsealbhóirí éagsúla le chéile chun clár oibre um athrú cleachtais, a thiocfaidh chun tairbhe chuile dhuine, a fhorbairt.  

“Deir an Dr Deirdre Curran ó OÉG a bhí ar an dtoscaireacht, ‘Mar acadóir le saineolas faoi leith i ndlí na fostaíochta agus caidreamh saothar, bhí alltacht orm nuair a chonaic mé an fhianaise ar mhí-úsáid agus ciapadh i dtorthaí an tsuirbhé. Tá gá le breis fianaise a bhailiú chun méid na bhfadhbanna san earnáil a mheas i gceart’. 

“Is iad an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh agus an séidteoir feadóige Eva Mitchell a bhí i mbun na toscaireachta, i dteannta Ed Kenny (Eagraí Earnáil Fáilteachais SIPTU) agus Tim Herlihy (Ball de Chomhairle Náisiúnta SIPTU). Ina gcuideachta bhí Marius Marosan (Rómánaigh in Éireann) agus Kasia Szewczuk (Abhcóide Cearta Imircigh) agus an Dr. Deirdre Curran ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Fuair siad éisteacht an-tuisceanach ón Aire agus dheimhnigh sé go labhródh sé lena chomhghleacaithe Aireachta cuí faoi agus go ngríosóidh sé na h-eagrais fostaíochta chun suí síos chun cainte le lucht an fheachtais.”

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