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Tourism sector calls for protections against customer abuse

tourism workers protections
Portmeirion is a common tourist destination. Source: Mike McBey (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Beth Williams | News Editor

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers along with other tourism leaders in North Wales are calling for protections to be put in place to protect hospitality workers from abusive customers.  With the popularity of staycations predicted to continue next summer, those in the sector believe that following Scotland’s lead and creating a new offence will deter the assaults and abuse of staff.

Reports of antisocial behaviour against staff are on the rise as the number of visitors to North Wales have increased over the summer months. Dylan’s, a successful restaurant chain in the area, is one of many local businesses to have spoken out against the abuse of their staff following both physical and verbal abuse from some customers. On their Facebook account, co-owners David Evans and Robin Hodgsonand revealed “We’ve seen friends in other small businesses and hospitality venues suffering too, both here in North Wales and further afield. We hope one thing is abundantly clear. We DO NOT tolerate abuse in our restaurants.” Following similar incidents, Adam Williams, the owner of Llandudno’s Pier, fully supports replicating Scottish law to protect his staff : “No one should be abused for the job they do no matter what they do, my staff work hard enough as it is especially this summer and should be treated with respect at all times.”

Despite 88% of UK business having reported some form of abuse from customers, this proposed action has been met with opposition. Jim Jones, the CEO of North Wales Tourism, believes that the proposed law is too extreme. He said, “It’s common decency to treat all workers with respect especially those people that work to create a good experience for their customers.” While some matters have been devolved to them, the Welsh assembly are unable to pass criminal legislations, meaning that the issue will need to be referred to the UK government. However, they released a statement condoning the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour before going on to say, “We support [The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers]’s call for greater protections for shop workers, and with criminal justice currently reserved to the UK Government, we urge them to bring forward the necessary legislation.”

As well as calls for new protections for workers at the forefront of the tourism industry, many have called into question the ability of Welsh infrastructure to deal with such high volumes of visitors. Rural communities are struggling with the influx of visitors, from scenes of overflowing car parks to overcrowding on popular beaches. Preceding the bank holiday weekend, Wales’ economy minister Vaughan Gething urged visitors to “look for quieter locations, plan your visit and treat each other and the places you visit with respect”. This advice comes after North Wales was listed as the most popular holiday destination in Britain for the first time this year.

Beth Williams News 

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