The trade body representing the British hospitality sector, UK Hospitality, has offered to meet with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to discuss employment in the industry: specifically to seek detail on his proposals for new legislation regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as plans to ensure that staff members receive 100 percent of tips in restaurants, bars and cafes across the U.K.
The invitation follows news yesterday that under Corbyn, a Labour government would seek to introduce legislation to provide transparency to tipping practices and address sexual harassment, under what Labour is calling a “#MeToo workplace revolution.” Labour has also reiterated plans to introduce a £10 “Real Living Wage.”
UK Hospitality asserts that efforts are “already being carried out by the hospitality sector to provide opportunities and safeguard working conditions.” The body says it has contacted the Labour leader to highlight this point.
In a statement that seems to partly undermine the urgency called for by Corbyn, UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Labour has unveiled plans to bolster equality for employees, but hospitality employers are already working hard to provide transparency and fairness for their workers.
“Clarity and transparency for staff and management alike regarding the collection of tips is welcome and UK Hospitality has worked with Unite and sector representatives to establish that via a code of practice.”
- Specifically on tips in restaurants, Nicholls added: “Any legislation on tips needs to provide the stability that UK Hospitality has pushed for so that all employers and employees understand the agreed tipping and tronc [pooling] measures in place.”
- On the so-called “#MeToo workplace revolution,” Nicholls said: “Measures to address sexual harassment in the workplace are certainly welcome and there can be no place for it within hospitality or any other sector. UK Hospitality has been engaging with employee organisations and the Health and Safety Executive to discuss workable solutions to safeguard hospitality staff, particularly those in potentially vulnerable roles.”
- On the £10 “Real Living Wage,” she said that the well-being of employers needed to be considered too: “Plans to introduce a £10 per hour Minimum Wage are laudable in theory, but it is important to recognise that such a move would place extreme pressures on some employers. Any increases to the rate of National Minimum or Living Wage must take into account economic pressures and be affordable for employers. Otherwise, the move could easily have the unintended effect of putting people out of work.”
“We would welcome a chance to discuss these measures with the Labour leader to see how we can secure support for the sector’s employees and the companies that employ them,” Nicholls concluded.
UK Hospitality says the sector creates £130 billion in economic activity, generating £38 billion in tax. It provides 10 percent of all UK employment, it makes up six percent of businesses and five percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Hospitality is the third largest private sector employer in the UK: double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined.