The IUF has called on the G20 to take immediate action to protect tourism workers being laid-off in their millions as a consequence of COVID-19 lockdowns and the collapse of the industry, which directly and indirectly employs more than one in ten workers worldwide. IUF General Secretary Sue Longley, addressing the April 7 G20 Tourism Working Group virtual meeting, called for G20 members to work with trade unions and employers to develop programs to retain workers in employment, establish short-time working programs to maintain workers’ incomes and to provide training.
“Governments also needed to work with unions and employers on protocols to protect hotel workers in hotels requisitioned to serve as quarantine centers and hospitals. These must include provision of personal protective equipment, transport and occupational health and safety training and must apply to all workers”, she said.
She also called on the United Nations World Tourism Organization to engage with the global union federations representing workers in tourism. (The UNWTO is “The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.” Faced with a global collapse and mass unemployment, the organization has to date been silent on the situation of the workers who are the foundation of the industry.)
Longley reminded the Group that the IUF had for many years worked to eliminate sexual harassment in the tourism sector and urged G20 members to ratify and implement ILO Convention 190 on eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work.
The G20 Tourism Working Group will meet in July and October in the run-up to the G20 Tourism Ministers’ meeting on October 7.