Skip to content Skip to footer

MEDIA RELEASE   The announcement by the NSW Government that 50 people will be allowed inside pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs from 1 June 2020 is welcome news to devastated hospitality workers desperate to get back to work.

But to put the best interests of these workers at the forefront, United Workers Union, the hospitality union, warns that this big step in re-opening hospitality in NSW must be done with clear safety regulations to protect the health of the public and the workers.

Profits cannot be put before the safety of workers and the community. Mandatory safety training needs to be urgently implemented, alongside the provision of paid pandemic leave for hospitality workers. The NSW Government must ensure businesses register their capacity for patrons appropriate to their size and that this is being enforced. There must be zero tolerance for non-compliance of venues to health and safety regulations.

United Workers Union members are very keen to work with the NSW Government to develop the necessary regulations to ensure this.

Mel Gatfield, United Workers Union NSW spokesperson says, “With venues across NSW just a week and a half 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.”

United Workers Union recommends the following safety measures:

  • Paid training for all hospitality staff prior to any venue re-opening to ensure workers are confident to identify, raise and resolve concerns in a COVID-19 environment. Workers need access to information, advice and support from their union in developing strong OHS cultures and practices in the workplace.
  • Universal sick leave for all hospitality workers, including casuals, to ensure those who are sick do not come to work out of economic need.
  • Workers in their unions must be authorised to notify state governments of non-compliance to ensure businesses adhere to regulations and community expectations. Without reporting mechanisms in place the health of both patrons and employees could be jeopardised.