Published: 28/04/2020

The IUF has warned G20 tourism ministers that it may take many years to rebuild the tourism sector to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity. In a statement to a virtual, extraordinary meeting on April 24, the IUF said that rebuilding the sector without strong trade union voices guiding the policy development would guarantee a tourism sector that would continue to leave millions of workers without rights, protection and income security.

The statement cautioned that workers’ rights must not be suspended or deferred during the COVID-19 crisis and called for the adoption of an agenda that put workers first and fully protected the right to organize.

It called for the immediate adoption of protocols to protect hotel workers which included provision of personal protective equipment, transport and occupational health and safety training, adding, “these protocols must apply to all workers, including those with non-standard forms of employment”.

Building on the IUF’s HRCT group work to expose fake green programmes, the statement called for support for the WHO’s “Operational considerations for COVID-19 management in the accommodation sector”, which provide clear guidance to protect workers and guests, including the suspension of optional housekeeping programmes where guests can voluntarily forego housekeeping services.

According to the latest ILO Report on COVID-19 up to 1.25 billion workers in key sectors around the world, representing almost 38 per cent of the global workforce, are being affected by COVID-19. The report identifies the accommodation and food services sector as being severely affected, accounting for 144 million workers, more than half of whom are women.

The statement follows an earlier intervention by IUF General Secretary, Sue Longley to the G20 tourism working group.