Ireland’s hidden hospitality shame

WORKERS in the hospitality industry who participated in the research are subject to appalling levels of verbal and psychological abuse, according to a new survey by NUI Galway researcher, Dr Deirdre Curran.

Pictured: SIPTU Organiser, Lenka Halouzkova, SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin, SIPTU Organiser, Eva Mitchell and Dr Deirdre Curran at briefing to SIPTU delegates attending the union’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Cork. Photo: James Weldon.

The survey carried out in recent months found that 64% of respondents suffered psychological abuse while a shocking 76% reported verbal abuse by managers or owners in their workplaces.

The level of physical abuse (15%) was less severe within the sector but 63% witnessed or experienced bullying while harassment of staff (55%) was also widely reported.

The survey found that most workers in the industry are women (62%), a similar number are over 25 (60%) and more than half are permanent employees (56%).

The survey found that 16% of those who responded were not born in Ireland.

According to Dr Curran, this latter figure may be an under-representation of the numbers of non-Irish nationals employed in the hospitality sector as language and other barriers may have hindered their wider participation in the survey.

While 88% said that they earned “at least the minimum wage”, many complained that they are not fully paid for the hours and over-time they work.

Most (52%) did not get break entitlements while 16% said that they received no regular wage slips or, when they did, they lacked important details. A total of 43% did not receive a written statement setting out their terms of employment when they commenced the job.

The respondents covered various roles within the hospitality industry across the Republic, including house-keeping, reception, waiter, manager, chef and bartender etc. and most (73%) had more than three years work experience.

Responses were anonymous al- though many agreed to engage directly with the research team and gave interviews or brief statements.

These testimonials also revealed some shocking practices within the €5 billion — and largely non- unionised — hotel, restaurant and catering industry.

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