Welsh Government needs to “raise the bar” on tourism, hospitality, and retail, sayd Senedd Committee
The Welsh Government has been told today by a Senedd Committee that it needs to “raise the bar” of standards in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.
The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee today released a report setting out how the Government and the industry must act to secure the future of the sectors after the turbulence of the Covid pandemic.
Today’s report says the Welsh Government needs to do more within its power to ensure fair working conditions in the three sectors, in light of growing cost-of-living pressures.
Poor working conditions, job insecurity and low pay will make it harder to fix the huge people shortage in these sectors, even though workers also report high job satisfaction. The Committee says the status of these sectors, already employing a high proportion of the Welsh workforce, must be raised.
In hospitality and tourism it’s estimated that between 70 to 75% of workers earn below the real Living Wage. Workers who gave evidence to the Committee anonymously said they had no voice to challenge their employers or change things in the industry and many were left with no choice but to leave.
In the report, the Committee outlines instances of workers feeling unsafe at work during the pandemic. However, according to the Committee, recovery from the pandemic presents an opportunity for government and the industry to work together to raise standards and secure a successful and thriving future.
The Committee calls on Welsh Government to look at what additional support can be provided to businesses that have weathered the Covid storm, including capital investment, flexibility with loan repayments and business rate arrangements. As well as using powers at its disposal to address the issues on barriers to fair work in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors. Specifically:
- protecting and improving workers’ pay and conditions in light of growing cost of living pressures
- improving worker voice
- Further support with capital investment, flexibility with loan repayments and business rate arrangements
Paul Davies, Chair of the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “We are proud of our visitor economy in Wales, and although we’ve seen a bounce back post-Covid, recovery is fragile. ”
“Today we are highlighting how we can secure a solid recovery in these vital industries.”
“‘It’s clear that the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”
“As a result it is vital Welsh Government does everything within its ability to support these industries’ recovery and to help them flourish once again.”
“The evidence we took shows just how much pride employees take in their work. With cost-of-living pressures mounting, it is vital that the Welsh Government and the sectors themselves work tirelessly to raise standards for their workers.”
The report makes 18 recommendations on how the Welsh Government should work alongside sector leaders, unions and training providers to protect the future of the sectors. The recommendations cover the proposed tourism levy, flexibility around Covid loan repayments and how the apprenticeship programme could benefit the industries.
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