IUF policy for the tourism sector, Malmö – 18-20/6/2001

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations


or the sustainable development of tourism

L ack of consistency and of co-ordination in tourism development has resulted in the sector being controlled mainly by private interests seeking short-term profits.

A negotiated development
T he development of tourism should follow guidelines drafted at the international, national, regional and local levels, after consultations with all parties concerned, including the unions representing workers of the sector. The unions should ensure that their views are duly taken into account prior to tourism projects being undertaken.

T rade unions ought to support all initiatives of an economic, social or fiscal nature aimed either at consumers or at the industry and designed to promote sustainable tourism development.

a balanced development
I UF affiliates should in particular promote the following principles:

        • tourism revenues should be fairly allocated and redistributed amongst the different regions;
        • the existing balance between socio-economic factors should be maintained (tourism should not monopolize natural resources, at the expense of other sectors, such as agriculture);
        • natural sites should be protected and strict provisions adopted to prevent pollution and to control the use of energy and natural resources;
        • existing cultural practices in such areas which are helpful to safeguarding the sites should be upheld;
        • eco-tourism should be promoted as much as possible particularly in small island states where the ecological balance is very fragile.

Involvement of unions
I UF affiliates should demand that they be included in the process of drafting, implementation and monitoring of environmentally-sound programs for the tourism sector.

Promotion of forms of tourism
I UF affiliates are invited to promote forms of specialized tourism that are less dependent on market forces (social and group tourism, rural tourism, etc.). They should support public efforts aimed at developing non-profit hospitality facilities, democratically operated and under the control of the trade union movement or those close to it.

that are less dependent on market forces
G overnments, employers and workers’ organizations should put special emphasis on “social tourism”. Low-income workers and their families should have access to domestic and foreign facilities and contacts should be established between unions and other workers’ organizations in various countries which operate their own tourism services.

I UF affiliates that have their own tourism facilities should make them available to members of other IUF affiliates at the same terms and conditions as those applying to their own membership.

Local priority
R espect of the local environment requires that tourism contribute to the preservation of the local economic and social fabric. In this connection, IUF affiliates should encourage the use of local businesses and products for tourism development projects. As much as possible, local labour should be employed and trained to handle tourism projects in their locality.

I UF affiliates should seek to ensure that subsidies and loans for the development of tourist facilities are used to further their stated aims and are contingent on their recipients complying with minimum standards, including union recognition and the respect of trade union rights.

Diversified development
B alanced tourism development requires, among others, the diversification of transportation, destinations and types of tourism. IUF affiliates should call upon decision makers to provide incentives in favour of non-polluting means of transportation in tourism.

Transnational companies respectful of
basic rights, including those of trade unions

T ransnational companies should be allowed to invest and operate in host countries only if they comply fully with local laws and practices, as well as with the provisions of the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises and basic ILO Conventions governing industrial relations, including trade union rights and the prohibition against forced and child labour.

I UF affiliates should ensure that companies fully respect workers’ freedom of association and right to bargain collectively and, as required by the ILO Declaration, have a positive attitude towards trade union activities, including those of international associations of unions.

I UF affiliates should further see to it that the companies draw most of their workforce from the local population and provide employees with the training necessary to eventually replace expatriate employees. Affiliates should also make sure that transnational companies are not granted investment incentives that could place them at a distinct advantage in relation to local firms. They should seek to obtain that entities operated under franchise or management contracts respect the same basic rights, including union rights, as those owned and operated by the transnational companies.

or jobs and improved working conditions

A better image of the HRCT sector, which alone will enable it to attract the skilled workers it needs in the long run, requires that working and living conditions in the sector be improved.

Collective bargaining
I mprovements can come about only through collective bargaining in the sector. IUF affiliates must put an absolute priority on initiatives aimed at securing recognition for unions, collective bargaining and the implementation of collective labour agreements at all local, national and international levels. IUF affiliates should seek to obtain that union representatives be granted free access to all HRCT-sector workplaces.

Stable jobs
I UF affiliates in the HRCT sector should put a priority on the creation of stable, permanent, full-time jobs. Given the seasonal nature of tourism in certain regions and/or in the case of certain activities, unions should actively support efforts aimed at extending the tourist season, or else at implementing measures to ensure that seasonal workers can return every season to jobs with the same employer. To avoid persistent exploitation of seasonal or casual labour, efforts should be made to unionise these categories of labour in order for them to have bargaining power.

S table jobs are threatened by the growth in unreported work. This type of illegal employment undermines the job security of legally employed workers, collectively bargained wages and working conditions and organizing in the sector, while at the same time causing a sizeable loss of revenue for the social welfare system. IUF affiliates should seek the implementation of measures to fight illegal work, including through international organizations.

Conditions similar to those of other sectors
I UF affiliates should seek to narrow any differences in wages and working conditions that may exist between the tourism and other economic sectors. They are invited to urge their governments to ratify ILO Convention 172 and to use as a model the provisions contained in Recommendation 179, adopted by employer, government and union delegates at the International Labour Conference of June 1991. Working conditions within international chains should, as much as possible, be similar in all countries. For instance, where similar jobs are being performed and similar services rendered, working conditions in a developing country should not be different from those that exist in developed countries.

Minimum employment standards
for the hotel and catering sector

I UF affiliates are called upon to defend the following minimum standards:

        • A ll workers should enjoy the same rights and respect as human beings, regardless of their origin, race, sex, language and creed or religion.
        • A ll workers should receive the same pay for work of equal value, regardless of sex or age.
    • T he working conditions, wages and fringe benefits of seasonal, temporary or part-time workers, or of the employees of subcontractors, should not be below those of full-time permanent workers.
    • T he use of subcontracting should be limited and negotiated with the unions representing the employees of the entity concerned. IUF affiliates should see to it that subcontracting is not used by employers as a way of preventing the organizing and effective representation of employees on payroll, or to exert downward pressure on the wages and working conditions of all of the entity’s personnel, or even of all those employed in the sector.
    • T emporary and part-time work should not be used as a substitute for permanent full-time jobs. IUF affiliates should ensure that employers are not entitled to government assistance for the creation of casual jobs.
    • W orkers in the HRCT sector are entitled to a decent base pay, equal to at least the average in the country. All employees are entitled to a regular wage for regular hours. Whenever compensation is dependent on the volume of business (pay based on service charge, compensation linked to sales), employees must also be guaranteed a minimum salary.
    • A ll workers in the HRCT sector should be entitled to retirement benefits providing a decent standard of living after retirement, as well as to disability insurance.
    • T ips and gratuities, understood to refer to sums freely given by customers to employees, are to be treated as fully distinct from wages. Workers should have access to company documents to verify the amount of tips and service charge they are entitled to.
    • W orking hours in the HRCT sector should be set by collective bargaining and efforts should be made to eliminate differences that may exist in this respect with other economic sectors.
    • A ny hours during which workers are required to be on call should be considered working hours and paid as such. Workers should not be restricted from entering the workplace during their rest period or on days off.
    • W henever feasible, workers should work uninterrupted shifts. In the event of broken shifts, adequate compensation should be negotiated.
    • H RCT workers should be entitled to a rest period of at least 12 hours between two shifts and 48 consecutive hours of weekly time off.
    • T he manner in which overtime is computed, assigned and compensated should be collectively bargained. Provisions applicable to night work or work on holidays should also be bargaining issues.
    • S afety and health issues should be included in collective bargaining. Emphasis should be on the need to train workers in the sector, particularly in light of the specific nature of the hotel and restaurant professions with respect to contacts with customers.
    • T he introduction of new technologies with a potential impact on working conditions should be examined together with the workers concerned; the conditions under which new technologies may be introduced should be considered a collective bargaining issue.
    • T he sub-contracting of jobs to outside firms shall be subject to consultation in order to prevent the deterioration of existing working conditions.
    • W orking conditions laid out in staff handbooks written solely by the employer shall not supersede what has been agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement.

Equal opportunities
I UF affiliates should seek to negotiate agreements guaranteeing full equality between women and men in employment, working conditions and advancement. They should encourage the adoption of programs aimed at facilitating the career development of women with dependent children.

A worker shall be protected from discrimination on the basis of union membership and enjoy all opportunities for promotion on the job, given the necessary skills.

Vocational training
I UF affiliates should place a high priority on vocational training. They should ask to be consulted on the selection standards and contents of basic vocational training programs. They should require that further training programmes be provided in the form of courses which would enable employees to progress in the jobs they are performing. Training should be financed by employers and/or the government and be scheduled during regular working hours.

S pecific courses should be offered to employees based on their needs and expectations (training of seasonal workers during the off season, special courses on safety and health issues, etc.). Employers should also permit workers to pursue courses relevant to the sector by granting them paid study leave.

Fight against financial crime
I UF affiliates should take steps to help fight financial crime in the HRCT sector. This entails, among other things, more thorough checks of the qualifications of owners of tourist facilities, increased crack downs on trafficking at such locations and stricter controls of financial transactions .

C ost cutting should not be seen as a means for employers to increase profits at the expense of employees.

R egular verification should be carried out to ensure that statutory deductions of social security, provident and pension fund contributions from staff salaries and employers’ contributions are properly made and paid into the relevant funds.

Geneva, 2 February 2000

To affiliated organisations in the HRCT sector
To the HRCT Trade Group Board

(To the Executive Committee for information)
Concerns: IUF policy for the tourism sector

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the HRCT Trade Group’s Toronto Conference (November 1998) discussions took place on a policy document covering the tourism sector. A draft text was adopted and sent for comments to IUF affiliates in the sector. The text was also submitted to the IUF Executive Committee which ratified it at its meeting on April 21-22, 1999.

At its meeting in Nicosia (Cyprus) on October 25-26, 1999, the HRCT Trade Group Board reviewed the amendments proposed by the affiliated organisations. All amendments were accepted with the exception of one calling for the exemption of tips and gratuities from income tax.

We are now pleased to enclose the final amended text of the policy document, and invite you to give it as wide exposure as possible: among public authorities in charge of tourism, employers and, of course, workers in the sector. The secretariat will distribute it to the other International Trade Secretariats organising in the tourism sector, to the tourism employers associations and international institutions.

This document may still be improved. To this end, we welcome your comments and proposals.

With thanks in advance, we are,

Yours in solidarity,

Patrick Dalban Moreynas Ron Oswald

HRCT Trade Group Co-ordinator General Secretary