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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

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Senator Paul Gavan

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Senator Paul Gavan

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Snippet Contents:

I seek a debate on the conditions of work in the hospitality sector. Eminent research by Dr. Deirdre Curran of the National University of Ireland, Galway, NUIG, might have come to Senators' notice last week. It detailed shocking results regarding what is happening in that sector. Some 76% of respondents had experienced verbal abuse, 64% had experienced psychological abuse and 15% had actually suffered physical abuse in the workplace. When asked the identity of the perpetrator, 76% said it was someone in a position of power. That could be the chef, the owner or the manager. As for sexual harassment, 55% of respondents had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment and 63% had witnessed or experienced bullying.
This is just a small sample of the shocking results of Dr. Curran's research concerning what is happening in the Irish hospitality sector. At the committee meeting I attended last week, representatives from both the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland stated that they would continue to refuse to engage with the joint labour committee process set up by the previous Government. They also made it clear that they would refuse to engage in any way in respect of putting a floor of decency in place for standards, pay, conditions and protections in the industry. It is scandalous for employer groups, which probably expect major funding to support them during the Brexit disruption to come, to turn around and tell the Government they are not going to engage in any way with the joint labour committee process, will not talk with trade unions and will not engage with workers or their representatives. That is disgraceful.
This sector has been characterised by extremely low pay and very poor conditions for far too long. It is time for the Government to step up and do more than just comment that there are some concerns about the sector. That sector is a disgrace and we need to see some action. I am calling for a debate on this issue in order that, once and for all, we can lay bare what is happening in the hospitality sector. I refer, in particular, to calling out the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland for continuing to refuse point-blank to engage with the industrial machinery of the State and with trade unions.