EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

UK: The representativeness of trade unions and employer associations in the Horeca sector

About

Country: 
United Kingdom
Author: 
Alex Wilson
Institution: 
IRRU, University of Warwick

The Horeca sector is a large sector in the UK and employs around 5% of the workforce. The sector has an active employers’ association, the British Hospitality Association, which undertakes a consultative and lobbying role with the government, and works closely with the sectoral skills council, People 1st. There is some union representation across the sector which includes firm-level collective bargaining. However, union density is generally low across the sector. In some cases there has been resistance to bargaining representation in the workplace by employers.

Sectoral properties

Economic background

The Horeca sector has grown by 1% to represent a 5% share of both sectoral employment and sectoral employees in the UK. Aggregate sectoral employment and employees have both increased by around 13% from 2000 to 2010. This growth has mostly been through increased male participation in the sector. Male employment rose by a quarter and male employees by 28%. By contrast female employment increased by 2% and the number of female employees decreased by 0.4% over 10 years. The gender gap has narrowed in the last 10 years to the extent that female employment has decreased from 58% (60% female employees) in 2000 to 51% (52% female employees) in 2010. A feature not reflected in the figures below is that over half of the workers (62%) in the sector are non-British. By far the largest area of employment is in restaurants and mobile food service activities (NACE Rev 2, 56.10) with 632,207 workers.

It is unclear what the precise impact of the current recession or financial crisis has had on employment in the sector. For example, pubs are closing at a record rate, whereas fast and convenience food outlets are experiencing strong growth.

Development of employment

Table 1: Sectoral properties
  2000 2010
Number of companies in the sector

105,225

128,705

Source of company data

Office for National Statistics

Office for National Statistics

.

Aggregate employment

1,169,300

1,346,620

Male employment

492,694

655,407

Female employment

676,606

691,213

Share of sectoral employment in %

4

5

Source of employment figures

UK Labour Force Survey

UK Labour Force Survey

Comment

excludes 56.29 'other food services activities'

Aggregate employees

1,042,930

1,204,871

Male employees

418,048

582,425

Female employees

624,882

622,446

Share of sectoral employees in %

4

5

Comment

data exclude NACE Rev 2. 56.29

2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations

This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:

(i) trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining (In line with the conceptual remarks outlined in the background information included in the accompanying excel spreadsheet, we understand sector-related collective bargaining as any kind of collective bargaining within the sector, i.e. single-employer bargaining as well as multi-employer bargaining. For the definition of single- and multi-employer bargaining, see 4.2)

(ii) trade unions which are a sector-related member of the sector-related European Union Federation (i.e. EFFAT – European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions):

  • Unite the Union (Unite);
  • GMB;
  • Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW);
  • Bakers, Food & Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU).

(iii) employer associations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining

(iv) employer associations (business associations) which are a member of the sector-related European Employer/Business Federation (i.e. Hotrec – Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés in Europe): The British Hospitality Association (BHA).

2a Overview of the industrial relations landscape in the sector

Please include a brief overview of the IR landscape in the sector (3-5 sentences) – summarising the most important features of industrial relations structures in the sector (based on the fact sheets – but without going into detail.)

Please also report here, whether the crisis had an impact on the sector’s relevant social partner organisations (e.g. mergers, emergence of new interest organisations, impact on membership structure, important social partner activities/achievements in the sector during the crisis etc.).

Two general unions, Unite and GMB, have members in the sector. USDAW, the UK’s main retail union, does not represent any members in the sector. Although no data was available from BFAWU, their website indicates core membership in industrial food production rather than catering or hospitality services. The BHA is the main representative organisation for employers in the sector, although it does not engage in collective bargaining.

2b Data on the trade unions

Table 2: Union Fact sheet: Unite the Union (Unite)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF), International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Affiliation to European-level organisations

European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), UNI Europa

Affiliation to national-level organisations

Trades Union Congress (TUC)

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

GMB, BFAWU, USDAW

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members (incl. non-employed), total

1,474,564

 

1,474,564

 

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

   
Female membership as a % of total members

23%

Source of sectoral membership figures

est. social partner

Union density - active members

Very high: 91%–100%

   
Sectoral density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral domain density - active members

Very low: 0%–9%

   
Union density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

   
Description of union's domain with regard to sector

As a general union, Unite could potentially recruit from all areas of the Horeca sector. Whether it does have membership across the whole sector could not be determined from union data.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

Unite targets membership by agency workers in the sector

Table 3: Union Fact sheet: GMB
Affiliation to multinational organisations

IUF

Affiliation to European-level organisations

EFFAT, UNI Europa

Affiliation to national-level organisations

TUC

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

Unite, BFAWU, USDAW

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members (incl. non-employed), total

601,730

-

601,730

 

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

   
Female membership as a % of total members

47%

Source of sectoral membership figures

own calculation

Union density - active members

medium low: 26%–50%

   
Sectoral density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral domain density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Union density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

   
Description of union's domain with regard to sector

GMB is a general union and potentially could attract membership from all areas of the Horeca sector. From the information available it is not clear whether GMB does have membership across all areas. GMB does have a high-profile campaign on behalf of publicans in the UK. Given the rivalry with Unite, it would suggest that GMB represents across the sector as well.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

GMB represents and campaigns on behalf of pub lessors in brewery-tied public houses in the UK.

Table 4: Union Fact sheet: Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

IUF

Affiliation to European-level organisations

EFFAT, UNI Europa

Affiliation to national-level organisations

TUC

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

no

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

no

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

Unite, GMB

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members (incl. non-employed), total

386,572

 

386,572

 

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

   
Female membership as a % of total members

57%

Source of sectoral membership figures

est. social partner

Union density - active members

medium low: 26%–50%

   
Sectoral density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral domain density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Union density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

   
Description of union's domain with regard to sector

USDAW recruits in other industrial and retail sectors. It is likely that any representation in sector is because of affiliation with another sector e.g. the retail sector where employees of retailers employ canteen of cafeteria staff

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

USDAW could represent a small number of workers in Horeca enterprises within its core membership base such as cafeterias in supermarkets

Table 5: Union Fact sheet: Bakers, Food & Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

IUF

Affiliation to European-level organisations

EFFAT, UNI Europa

Affiliation to national-level organisations

TUC

Engagement in sector-related collective bargaining

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Union's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other unions in sector

yes

Domain overlaps occur with the following unions in the sector

Unite, GMB

 

2010

‘Active’ union members total (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members (incl. non-employed), total

22,786

-

22,786

 

2010

‘Active’ union members in the sector (in employment)

n.g.

   
Union members in the sector, total (incl. non-employed)

n.g.

   
Female membership as a % of total members

n.g.

Source of sectoral membership figures

est. social partner

Union density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Sectoral domain density - active members

very low: 0%–9%

   
Union density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral density - total members

n.g.

   
Sectoral domain density - total members

n.g.

   
Description of union's domain with regard to sector

BFAWU organises mostly in ‘the food sector from production to retail’ (BFAWU website). The union could cover sections of the Horeca sector e.g. in catering, although it is more likely to cover food production outside of the sector.

Representation of other groups than employees in the sector

BFAWU mostly organises in the food production sector, although could potentially cover workers in catering related activities

2c Data on the employer associations

Table 6: Employers’ organisation: British Hospitality Association (BHA)
Affiliation to multinational organisations

none

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes in Europe (Hotrec)

Affiliation to national-level organisations

none

Engagement in sectoral-related collective bargaining

no

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

congruence

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations  
  2010
Number of member companies, total

40,000

-

40,000

Number of employees in member companies, total

500,000

-

500,000

  2010
Number of member companies in sector

40,000

-

40,000

Number of employees in member companies in sector

500,000

-

500,000

Source of membership figures

est. social partner

Domain density - companies

20.0%

-

20.0%

Sectoral density - companies

31.0%

-

31.0%

Sectoral domain density - companies

31.0%

-

31.0%

Domain density - employees

33.3%

-

33.0%

Sectoral density - employees

41.5%

-

41.5%

Sectoral domain density - employees

33.3%

-

33.3%

Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

The BHA represents employers of all sizes across the Horeca sector in the UK

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

n.a.

Table 7: Employers’ organisation: British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)*
Affiliation to multinational organisations

none

Affiliation to European-level organisations

Hotrec

Affiliation to national-level organisations

none

Engagement in sectoral-related collective bargaining

no

Consultation in sector-related matters

yes

Type of membership

voluntary

Organisation's domain with regard to sector

sectional overlap

Domain overlap with other organisations in sector

no

Domain overlaps occur with the following organisations  
  2010
Number of member companies, total

n.g.

   
Number of employees in member companies, total

600,000

#

#n.a.

  2010
Number of member companies in sector

n.g.

 
Number of employees in member companies in sector

600,000

#

#n.a.

Source of membership figures

est. social partner

Domain density - companies

medium low: 26%–50%

 
Sectoral density - companies

low: 10%–25%

 
Sectoral domain density - companies

medium low: 26%–50%

 
Domain density - employees

medium low: 26-50%

 
Sectoral density - employees

rough estimate:

 
Sectoral domain density - employees

medium high: 51%–75%

 
Description of organisation's domain with regard to sector

The BBPA represents the interests of public houses as well as breweries, which lie outside of the Horeca sector.

Representation of particular subgroups of enterprises

Pubs are the mainstay of BBPA membership in the sector

*Figures for the BBPA include brewery firms which are outside the Horeca sector. No breakdown of figures or estimates were made available by the BBPA. It is not clear how representative the figure of 600,000 employees is in terms of the Horeca sector.

The official Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations uses the statutory definition of an ‘employers’ association’ as an organisation that consists ‘wholly or mainly of employers or individual owners of undertakings of one or more descriptions’ and whose principal purposes include ‘the regulation of relations between employers of that description or those descriptions and workers or trade unions’. According to the Certification Officer’s listing of employers’ associations, none appear to operate in the Horeca sector. Note: the British Amusement Catering Trades Association represents organisations in the gaming and amusements sector, not catering trades.

3. Inter-associational relationships

3a Inter-union relationships

3a.1 Please list all trade unions covered by this study whose domains overlap.

Unite, GMB and, theoretically, BFAWU’s domains overlap.

3a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

Yes –Unite and GMB compete for members within the Horeca sector.

3a.3 If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?

No

3b Inter-employer association relationships

3b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

BHA reports no overlap with other employer associations.

3b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

No.

3b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?

Not applicable.

3b.4 Are there large companies or employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No.

4. The system of collective bargaining

4.1. Estimate the sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector).

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills report ‘statistics on trade union membership’ (257Kb PDF) puts collective bargaining coverage for the sector at 5.4%. Given the size of the sector and the low level of union density, this appears to be a reasonable assessment.

4.2. Estimate the relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered. (Multi-employer bargaining is defined as being conducted by an employer association on behalf of the employer side. In the case of single-employer bargaining, it is the company or its subunit(s) which is the party to the agreement. This includes the cases where two or more companies jointly negotiate an agreement.)

There are no multi-employer agreements.

4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?

No

4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?

No

4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2009 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered.

* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.

Not applicable.

4.4. List the sector’s four most important collective agreements (single-employer or multi-employer agreements) valid in 2009 (or most recent data) including, for each agreement, information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered. Importance is measured in terms of employees covered.

Table 8: Four most important agreements in terms of employees covered

Bargaining parties

Purview of the agreements

 

Sectoral

Type of employees

Territorial

Renaissance Hotel Heathrow/Unite

single hotel

blue-collar

single site

Horse Guards Hotel/Unite/GMB

single hotel (GMB covers other sites)

blue-collar

single site

Heathrow Sheridan Hotel/Unite

single hotel

blue-collar

single site

BBC Clubs/Unite

6 clubs

blue-collar

national

The four examples above are of single-employer bargaining and, in total, cover around 700 employees.

5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies

5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters? If yes, which associations?

Unions (Unite) and employer associations (BHA, BBPA) are consulted on health and safety issues via the tripartite Hospitality industry liaison forum run by the Health and Safety Executive. This is used to establish and disseminate health and safety best practice throughout the sector.

Through the Sectoral Skills Council, People 1st is the skills council for the Horeca sector. People 1st coordinates skills training and identifies skills needs for the sector. The union GMB is part of the council of members for the organisation as are both employer associations, BHA and BBPA.

5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist? If yes, please indicate their domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.), their origin (agreement/statutory) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

Table 9: Sector-specific public policies*

Name of the body and scope of activity

Bipartite/tripartite

Origin: agreement/statutory

Trade unions having representatives (reps)

Employer associations having reps.

Health and Safety Executive

tripartite

statutory

Unite

BHA, BBPA

People 1st – The Sector Skills Council (skills and training

tripartite

statutory

GMB

BHA, BBPA

* Sector-specific policies specifically target and affect the sector under consideration.

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade unions

6a.1 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

There are no statutory regulations requiring trade unions to meet criteria of representativeness in order to be entitled to conclude collective agreements, and there are no restrictions on which organisations may represent employees in collective bargaining. However, in order to make use of the statutory recognition procedure (UK0007183F), whereby a trade union can compel an employer (provided they employ more than 21 workers) to recognise it for collective bargaining purposes, unions must:

  • be independent of the employer (the Certification Officer certifies unions’ independence);
  • demonstrate that they have at least 10% membership within the proposed bargaining unit;
  • show that a majority of workers in the proposed unit are likely to favour recognition.

Where the statutory procedure is engaged, it may involve a ballot, in which the union must win the support of a majority of workers voting and at least 40% of the workers in the proposed bargaining unit.

In the Horeca sector Unite has sought bargaining recognition with the Dorchester Hotel, Hyatt Churchill Hotel and Kensington Close Hotel all, so far, without success.

6a.2 In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No.

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6b.2 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No.

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

Not applicable.

7. Commentary

Horeca is a large sector in the context of the UK economy. It has a diverse and wide-ranging skills requirement; training for improved skills and in health and safety are described as top issues by social partner organisations. The sector is also dependent on migrant workers. The top issues identified by unions (Unite) and employers’ organisations (BHA) for the sector are summarised in the table below.

Unite

BHA

Establishing genuine dialogue with UK hospitality employers

Qualification and skills passport

equality training

undeclared work

health and safety

corporate social responsibility

 

sector councils on employment and skills

 

mobility and migration of workers

*Social partners were asked: What are the five most important issues for the sector that should be dealt with over the next five years?

The issues identified by Unite and the BHA suggest that the need for training is highly important for the sector. The response from Unite, that there is a need to establish ‘genuine dialogue’ with employers, implies there is much scope for unions’ involvement in employment relations throughout the Horeca sector, especially given the low levels of union density. The employers’ organisation, the BHA, enjoys a higher level of sectoral representation. The BHA has been consulted by the government on employment flexibility and food law enforcement. The BHA also lobbies government on taxation (particularly on the recent increase in VAT to 20%) and on cutting ‘red tape’ to streamline the relationship between government and the Horeca sector.

Alex Wilson, IRRU, University of Warwick.