Organising the Young Precariat in the Bar and Hospitality Industry

9 Sep
– by Johnny Hunter and Sarah Collins
The Bar and Hospitality Workers’ branch of Unite is now up and running in Glasgow.  The branch was kick-started by a few young Unite members who work in the hospitality sector and felt that unionisation was a necessity in these precarious workplaces.People who work in the hospitality sector are often under paid, over worked, disrespected and expendable.  It is a precarious industry, and a precarious lifestyle, leading to the coining of the term ‘precariat’ (a combination of precarious and proletariat) for those who live and work in this manner. It is thought that the precariat make up around 25% of the UK workforce today. They are often graduates, migrant workers, students and women. The average age group is 16-24 year olds.

It has always been notoriously difficult to organise precarious workers, but it is an important objective which must be achieved in order to build effective Unions, relevant in today’s society. Unite has already been successful with an effective push into the supermarkets, particularly with the ‘family friendly’ and ‘decent wage’ campaigns against Sainsbury’s. Unite is the biggest trade union in the UK at the moment, but it could be much bigger.

Unite needs to encourage young workers to join the Union, through the workplace. Today that workplace is most likely a supermarket, a call centre, or a bar/restaurant.  Joining a Union is a necessity for people who need support and representation in all work related issues, want to improve pay and conditions, and ensure a fair deal in all areas of working life.  Due to the lack of employment rights and knowledge of employment law in precarious workplaces, it is particularly important to become unionised. Unionised workers have more collective bargaining power, economically and politically, than non-Unionised workers.

By unionising young precariat workers, it is easy to link with campaigns around wider issues such as youth under-employment and the living wage. In the coming months this is going to be imperative to Union growth, and to working class struggle.

Our website is currently under construction: Glasgow bar and Hospitality Union
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You can email us at and join the branch online  – branch number 196, region SC.

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One Response to “Organising the Young Precariat in the Bar and Hospitality Industry”

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  1. Organising the young precariat in the Bar and Hospitality Industry « Glasgow Bar and Hospitality Union - September 9, 2011

    […] the article on the Unite Scotland website here. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in […]

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