Union plea for workers during Eurovision

The UK’s largest trade union organisation is to launch a drive to protect Liverpool’s hospitality workers throughout Eurovision.

From Monday, the European song contest kicks off in earnest, with performances beginning at the city’s M&S Bank Arena. With that will come a massive influx of visitors who will flock for Liverpool’s vast hospitality offer, which is expected to generate millions of pounds for the local economy.

Ahead of this, Sharon Graham, Unite the Union general secretary has said while the contest will bring the eyes of the world to the city, low paid workers in bars, restaurants and hotels will face a huge increase in workloads. She said: “Liverpool’s hospitality employers will be taking full advantage of the boom in custom during Eurovision.

“Meanwhile, the low pay and insecure work hospitality staff suffer will continue, with no share in the rewards reaped by the contest, despite them bearing the brunt of the extra work. That’s why during Eurovision and after it, Unite will be helping Liverpool’s hospitality workers to organise collectively. 

“Unite is intent on giving them the tools and support they need to force employers into addressing their concerns and paying a proper living wage.”

As part of Unite’s drive for Liverpool hospitality workers to be paid at least the real living wage of £10.90 per hour, the union is launching UnionVision during Eurovision week. Unite, which represents more than one million members across the UK, is also working to ensure hospitality workers in the city to be on secure contracts, to receive 100 per cent of their tips and be free from sexual harassment and abuse.

Caitlin Lee, Unite hospitality organiser, said, “Unite is concerned that employers will use Eurovision as an opportunity to grab the extra millions the competition will bring in, but pass nothing on to their workers but more pressure and worse working conditions. It does not have to be this way – Eurovision is a chance for employers to raise their game and show the world they are leading the way in treating workers fairly. 

“Unite calls on them to grant the union access to workplaces to ensure this happens.”

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