Unite calls for mandatory mask wearing in pubs

By Amelie Maurice-Jones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Union pushback: Unite said masks should be mandatory in hospitality venues (Getty/ Juan Jose Napuri)
Union pushback: Unite said masks should be mandatory in hospitality venues (Getty/ Juan Jose Napuri)

Related tags: Health and safety, coronavirus, Hospitality, Government

The union Unite has called for the culture secretary to ensure mandatory mask wearing at UK hospitality venues after masks became mandatory on public transport.

The union is calling on culture secretary Nadine Dorries to open talks with industry leaders and unions with the aim of imposing mandatory mask wearing at UK hospitality venues unless seated with family members and/ or close friends, and while eating and drinking. 

This comes after Unite union members were met by physical abuse and death threats from customers after they tried to enforce the wearing of face masks.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “We must ask why hospitality is the only area in the public arena where facemasks are not compulsory. Does the government consider the health and safety of hospitality workers less of a priority than that of workers in other sectors?”

Union outrage

In the passenger transport sector, compulsory facemasks have been imposed by the Department for Transport in consultation with unions but there has been no such move from the Digital Culture Media and Sport Department.

Graham continued: "It is outrageous that hospitality workers are being left to police the wearing of facemasks due to the lack of proper mandatory rules or effective legislation.

“My union is pledged to fight to defend the jobs pay and conditions of our members and the health and safety of our hospitality members is high on that list."

Not even an afterthought

Unite industrial organiser for hospitality Bryan Simpson said the union was disappointed that yet again, the health, safety and working conditions of hospitality workers wasn’t “even an afterthought” for the Government.

Simpson said: “Many thousands of these employees are disproportionately on low pay and many are women, young workers or migrant workers.

“Our view is facemasks must be compulsory in all public spaces - with no loopholes - and it must not be left to individuals working in hospitality or any other sector, for that matter, to enforce."

Related topics: Health & safety

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