Unions warn of jobs crisis without government financial support


Unions are calling for immediate support for workers in the hospitality and entertainment industries amid warnings of a jobs “crisis”.

The Omicron wave prompted the cancellation of performances by a growing number of theaters and live events, along with reports of declining bookings with pubs and restaurants facing similar issues.

Sharon Graham, leader of Unite, said: “The government is to come up with a support package for hotel workers today.

“The uncertainty caused by the Prime Minister is devastating – workers don’t even know if they will even have a job to go to next week. It is a terrible position to put people in.

“Hospitality workers didn’t cause this crisis and they shouldn’t be the ones paying for it.

“They still have rent to find and bills to pay, but their income is disappearing before their eyes. They need help now.

Bectu, the theater workers’ union, wrote to the chancellor, urging him to provide urgent support to the industry to avoid a “jobs crisis”.

Bectu Director Philippa Childs said: “We are now facing a New Year’s theatrical crisis with a lack of government leadership, a growing wave of Omicron cases and an anxious audience. It started as a public health crisis, but it could also quickly turn into a jobs crisis.

“With the recent tightening of Covid restrictions, there has been little comment on the significant impact this will have on self-employed workers working in theaters and live events.

“Bectu is concerned that the self-employed again seem to be at the back of the pack when it comes to planning for any further financial disruption in our daily lives.

“We need to give businesses stability and support for the creative industries to be open and safe to trade, but we also need to consider what will happen if the government imposes restrictions that actually or effectively shut them down.”

Transport Salaried Staffs Association Secretary General Manuel Cortes said: “The government must restore holidays to protect jobs at Eurostar and elsewhere as we suffer the effects of Omicron.

“Measures to tackle the virus, such as travel restrictions, must be matched with financial support for companies, including our tour operator, to prevent thousands of job losses.

“Eurostar has already suffered from the drop in passenger numbers since the start of the pandemic, but as the only green link to Europe it must be a strategic priority for the government to keep the route going.

“The government has refused to provide anything other than support on leave since the start of the pandemic.”

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: “Eurostar has suffered a financial blow since the pandemic.

‘We call on the government to recognize the importance of Eurostar for the future of UK transport infrastructure and to come together in tripartite discussions with ministers, the company and the unions to ensure a net is in place safety device in order to avoid any risk of the operation tipping over. on.

“With the loss of income at Christmas and New Years, the situation at Eurostar is extremely serious and the government cannot be allowed to wash their hands and leave.”

Equity, the union of performing arts workers, has also written to the Chancellor to call for action to protect its members in light of the increase in cases of the Omicron variant.

Secretary General Paul W Fleming said: “The Westminster government has given meager support to the bosses of the Cultural Recovery Fund, interest rate relief for businesses, an expanded theater tax credit. Their support for Equity members has been negligible.

“Don’t lock us in without support, don’t abandon the workforce that has done more than anyone to keep our industries alive.”


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