Give bar workers a fighting chance for the future

Thursday 16 July 2020

The bar workers union, Mandate, has today (Thursday, 16th July) called on the Government to give bar workers and bar owners a fighting chance for survival by supporting them in the proposals to be announced in the “July Stimulus Package”.

Referring to Mandate’s Submission to the Dail Covid Committee Concerning the Hospitality Sector, John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said:

“Bar workers want to return to work when it is safe to do so for them and their customers. The bars which remain closed have been so since St. Patrick’s week and tens of thousands of bar workers have been laid off, the majority on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.  There is no doubt bar workers and the businesses in which they work have been severely impacted by the health led lockdown restrictions.”

He added, “Mandate Trade Union and our members are concerned for the future employment prospects of Bar Workers, with some reports estimating that in excess of 20,000 bar workers of the 50,000 workers in the sector could lose their jobs, even if restrictions are eased.”

Mr Douglas continued: “As Ireland tries to return to some form of normality, our social interaction is vital and our bars and bar workers play a big role in this, so for the sake of some normality and for the sake of decent jobs in our sector, the Government must prioritise the Bar Sector with a suite of support measures in their ‘July Stimulus Package’.”

Specifically Mandate Trade Union is calling for the following:

  1. An orderly and safe re-opening of all bars when it is deemed safe to do so by the Health Authorities.
  2. A temporary reduction of the VAT Rate on “sales of alcohol” in the bar sector until the end of 2020, at which time it can be reviewed.
  3. An extension of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme until the end of 2020 fo all bar workers who are returned to work by their employers on the same terms and conditions as pertained before the lockdown. Again these measured should be reviewed at the end of 2020, as there can be no doubt that the negative impact of the lockdown and opening restrictions will be felt in the bar sector well into 2021.
  4. An extension of the rent freeze and the ban on evictions as a way of protecting workers.

Mr Douglas concluded: “The bar sector is on its knees and the vast majority of bar owners did the right and responsible thing during this Pandemic.  It is now vital that this Government does the right thing to support bar workers and the business in which they work.”