BFAWU launches campaign against sexual harassment in fast food and hospitality industry
The BFAWU has joined forces with Women Against Rape to launch a campaign against sexual violence in the fast food and hospitality industry.
The union has published a statement on its website, written by Women Against Rape, saying: “Sexual violence in the hospitality industry is much more common than we all think. We don’t exactly know how common because most people don’t tell anyone. Abusers count on the victim being afraid to report it, scared that she may lose her job if she is not believed or even if she is.”
It goes on to say anyone on low pay, zero hours contracts or with insecure immigration status and not a union member is particularly vulnerable, especially to managers or colleagues in senior positions.
“Many fast food workers are teenagers and don’t know their rights, and all are seen as disposable,” reads the statement. ” And those of us who have children to feed are terrified of losing our job and our housing. Austerity cuts, especially to welfare benefits, which have targeted women, and the social housing crisis, have made women on low wages more vulnerable to sexual violence as we can no longer rely on benefits to survive.
“But things are changing. Decades of campaigning by organisations like ours, individual women and other survivors who fought back, and the advent of social media have enabled global movements like #MeToo. This has encouraged workers in the hospitality industry to come forward.
“But it is hard to speak out if you don’t know your rights and you don’t know if your union is going to back you or you don’t have a union. The BFAWU has come to Women Against Rape because it wants to ensure that workers can report any abuse, win justice and stop any further violence. We are very glad about that and want to support in every way we can.”
More details of the campaign, and advice on how to report an incident, can be found here.
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