STWL – The first few weeks

Since we came together a few weeks ago, we’ve heard stories from across Scotland of how COVID-19 has impacted those working in tourism, from small inconveniences to lives being turned upside down.

We’ve heard from workers in hospitality, retail, heritage, and tour guiding from many different backgrounds. Work has changed for everyone. Some have faced great stress adapting to these changes in the workplace. Most have lost income, and many have lost their jobs altogether. Worst of all, some have lost their homes. Every single person we hear from feels some unease about the future.

Almost everyone who gets in touch feels their bosses haven’t been open or transparent with them throughout this crisis. Very few think their employers have done everything possible to support them. None feel that they’ve given any meaningful say in their future. Some have faced drawn out redundancy struggles, in which workers have had to fight for what they’re legally entitled to. Others have grave concerns about their employers’ lack of adherence to COVID safety measures. Others, living in tied accommodation, have voiced their concerns that losing their jobs will also mean losing their homes.

Owners protest that they have had no choice, that they would help their workers more if only they could. But as workers and tenants across Scotland have found time and again over the centuries, the first instinct of bosses and owners is to maximise their own profit. In a time of crisis, this has meant sacrificing their workers the very minute they cease to be useful, in some cases even clearing them from their homes. Now these same owners are desperate to get their noses in the trough and claim government support, with no intention of passing any of this onto their workers.

When workers get in touch with us, they tell us about their boundless passion for working in Scotland. Those who grow up here are easily inspired to make their livelihoods showing this amazing country to the world, and those who don’t grow up here are inspired to stay for the same reason. There is strength and unity in this diversity, and workers are showing amazing resilience in their determination to stay in the industry and see off these challenges.

More can be done with this unity – it can give us a voice. In Scotland, business owners have secured millions in government funding through lobbying groups. If our bosses can organise, then so can we. Since the beginning of the pandemic, workers across Scotland have fought back and won by organising and standing together. We are the real drivers of this industry, and together we can make it fairer.

If you agree, we want to hear from you. The more people get in touch, the more noise we can make. Drop us a message, or fill in this form below to get involved:

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