New Zealand

The Unite Union’s “HospoHelp” initiative aims to educate workers about their rights.

Hospitality workers say that the industry’s work culture needs to change, and to achieve that, workers need to stay connected.

The first in a series of mobile clinics run by the Unite Union.
Photo: / Liu Chen

The Unite Union, which represents workers in hotels, casinos, cinemas and fast food stores, operates mobile clinics nationwide as part of the Hospo Help program, which educates and advises on workers’ rights.

It is stated that they have been constantly contacted by workers who know they have been mistreated since the first blockade but do not know what to do about it. Issues include illegal wage cuts, guaranteed hours, shift cancellations, and lack of sick leave and breaks.

At the first clinic on Dominion Road in Auckland on Friday, union volunteer Cantimalaon said he had otherwise experienced harassment and bullying in his previous job as a waitress.

He said he was 22 and started working in the hospitality industry when he was 16. He said it is especially important for young people unfamiliar with the industry to recognize their rights.

“Because many of them enter the industry and really don’t know how they should be treated, what their rights are, and what that really means to be done. They are industry or managers. “

“We are here to educate and inform people unfamiliar with the industry. This is good for the future, but we also want to help change the culture and stigma of people already in the industry and hospitality. I’ve been working there for a long time and it’s just getting accepted, but it shouldn’t be. “

Mr On said people should not be afraid to speak.

“I think hospitality people need to stay connected and talk to each other. We feel quite divided. You already have so much power in yourself, We have much more power as a group. At work, we talk to each other and talk to each other. We should work together and solve problems together. “

Xavier Walsh, co-representative of the Unite Union, and volunteer Cantima La On. Both work in the hospitality industry.

Xavier Walsh, co-representative of the Unite Union, and volunteer Cantima La On. Both work in the hospitality industry.
Photo: / Liu Chen

Co-representative of the union working at McDonald’s Xavier Walsh said hospitality was a daunting task. He said sick leave, annual leave, or breaks at the fish and chips store where he worked a few years ago are not allowed.

“Many people seem to think that Hospo is not a difficult job. It’s low-paying and therefore less labor-intensive, but it’s not true at all. You’re like running around. Always something. It can actually be quite stressful because you are doing it. “

He said workers should be aware of each other for infringement.

“If you feel something is wrong, it probably isn’t. You should be aware of your rights, take action, take pride in your work, and get what you deserve. That means getting a legal qualification. “

Gerald Hehill, assistant secretary to the union, said the clinic was an opportunity for workers to come and ask questions and get independent, hands-on advice.

“It’s not a complicated legal issue, it’s just that the law says this should happen,” he said.

“We need to let these workers know that they don’t have to put up with not taking breaks at work. They don’t have to put up with being forced to get sick. [and] If their employer wants them to be able to work so many hours, then they need to be guaranteed in those hours.

“There are some very basic things. It is to educate and encourage people to stand up for very basic rights to improve the situation that got worse last year as a result of the pandemic. I am aiming for. “

Union advocate Julia Liu said migrant workers can find services in their own language through her union and other organizations.

“Don’t shut up. Be courageous. Get up and get justice,” she said.

According to Hehill, the union plans to run clinics in various parts of Auckland and other cities.

The Unite Union’s “HospoHelp” initiative aims to educate workers about their rights.

SourceThe Unite Union’s “HospoHelp” initiative aims to educate workers about their rights.

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