Hospo Voice

What we’re fighting for with bars and restaurants reopening

October 12, 2021

3 things we want to make hospo safer for all

For many people, their favourite bar, café or restaurant reopening is the most exciting thing about lockdown ending.

We’re all craving a delicious meal we haven’t cooked ourselves. We’re looking forward to going out and catching up with friends. Many of us are hankering for an icy beer straight from the tap.

As hospo workers, we’re excited about getting back to work. But you’ve got to admit, there’s heaps of apprehension. I think we’re all worried about the new rules and how they’re going to work.

Here at Hospo Voice, we’ve been listening to your worries. From chats with our members, there are three primary concerns hospo workers have about bars and restaurants reopening.

These are the things we’re fighting for to help us all feel safer at work.

1. Harassment from unvaccinated patrons

We know that most people will be thrilled to get back to their fave hospo haunt.

They will happily flash their shiny, green vaccination certificate before sinking gratefully into their favourite chair.

But there will almost certainly be a loud minority of people who are opposed to vaccination. We’re all pretty worried about how this is going to go down.

What we’re fighting for

Hospo workers who are given the task of checking patrons’ vaccination status need to get proper training on how to have these conversations. This task should NOT fall to inexperienced workers. And this goes without saying, but they should pay you for that training.

Employers should have clear procedures in place so hospo workers know what to do if a customer becomes abusive. You should feel empowered to refuse entry and know the next steps if the customer becomes aggressive or refuses to leave.

Take action: Attend Member Training

Check out upcoming events

We’re running training sessions for Hospo Voice members to identify workplace violence and aggression, find out what your rights are and how to enforce them. Register now!

2. Bosses flouting the rules

Reopening restaurants, cafes and bars comes with conditions. We all need to follow capacity limits, social distancing and mask rules.

Most employers will follow those rules as no one wants to have to shut again because of positive cases in their venue.

However, there will probably be a few who flout the rules. We’re all pretty concerned about what we do as hospo workers if our boss doesn’t seem to care.

What we’re fighting for

At the moment, it’s rare for WorkSafe investigators to visit hospo venues to look into rule breaches. But we think they should. We need a dedicated flying squad to ensure all workers are safe at work.

We’re calling on state governments to employ extra health and safety inspectors to visit venues. 

We encourage workers to report any breaking of health and safety rules to your local WorkSafe authorities.

Take action: Speak out!

Share your experience

We’ve creating OpeningUp.com.au so workers can let us know if you feel safe at work and share your experiences and suggestions for how governments and employers can improve.

3. Workers feeling unsafe from COVID-19

There are plenty of stories of workers who have felt pressured to come to work even when they’re sick.

They’ve been financially penalised for taking time off for a COVID-19 test, because they’ve received no paid sick leave or have been punished with reduced shifts.

This continues to be a legitimate concern for many workers, particularly if the COVID-19 Test and Isolate support payments are phased out.

What we’re asking for

We want workers to be given time off to get a COVID test if they need to. We don’t want you going to work sick.

We want employers to allow workers time off to get tested and isolate. You shouldn’t be punished for doing the right thing.

We also want current government test and isolate payments to continue, so if you won’t be financially penalised if you don’t have sick leave.

Take action: Get involved

Come to the emergency industry reopening meeting

Join us on Tuesday 19th October at 3:30pm to get answers to your covid-related workplace health and safety questions, we’ll share our experiences and which issues matter most to workers, decide what we want to fight for and we’ll take action. RSVP on the FB event.

Help – I’m not sure what my bar and restaurant reopening rights are?

If you’re not sure what your workplace health and safety reopening rights are, don’t worry!

At Hospo Voice, we have added a bunch of new resources relating to COVID reopening to our Member Hub. You can read up on your rights and ask questions in Mobilise if you need more info.

Our new resources include:

Join Hospo Voice now to get support and advice for when your bar, café or restaurant reopens.

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