Wednesday, November 05, 2008


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

International Labour Office, Geneva
October 2008
Working Paper
Guide for social dialogue in the tourism industry [October 2008]
by Dain Bolwell and Wolfgang Weinz
[full-text, 97 pages]

The hotel, catering and tourism (HCT) sector is one of the world's major growth
industries. It creates millions of jobs and is of central importance to the economy of many
developing and developed nations. However the HCT sector is often characterized by low
pay, difficult working conditions and many clandestine jobs. In many countries tourism
contributes to the exploitation of child labour and of women, local communities often
derive little benefit from the industry and it can have significant negative environmental

In many ways the issues in the HCT industry have grown more acute. This guide is a
contribution to help solve its problems now and in the future ­ through social dialogue that
builds on openness, trust and the involvement of the main stakeholders in the industry.
This publication is designed to help and enable policy-makers, trainers and practitioners
among the ILO constituents to understand, promote and facilitate social dialogue in the
HCT sector.

This guide is based on recommendations of ILO tripartite meetings and is part of the
ILO's commitment to the industry. 1 It reflects other (bilateral) discussions and consensus
with other international organizations and industry representation. These discussions
indicate that sustainable growth is only possible with greater social dialogue as a central
means of providing longer term and country-specific remedies and strategies.

However, the sector faces many problems ­ especially those relating to representation
of its workers, to communication between workers and management, and to working
conditions. The HCT sector is atypical in its working hours, seasonality and pay. Generally
it has a low union density. Nevertheless it is a driver of economic growth, especially in
many developing countries. Accordingly, there is a need to promote vocational training,
improved working conditions and stable labour relations to enable the industry to continue
its sustainable growth for the benefit of employers, workers and government ­ and for
those people who depend on the industry ­ as well as for the world economy.

The social issues in this sector include the high participation levels of women, young
people and migrant workers, who often lack opportunities and voice, as well as
marginalized workers with low-skill levels and children in potentially hazardous work.
These issues make the HCT sector ideal for addressing employment and development
challenges such as gender promotion, youth employment, migrant labour and child labour
­ all of which are at the heart of the ILO's Decent Work Agenda. This is also true for
issues such as the high rate of undesired part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal
employment, the increasing rate of subcontracting and outsourcing that threatens working
conditions, and the low rate of unionization in the sector.

Lastly, the sector is special in its relationship to globalization. The consumer of its
services travels to where the services are generated, unlike most other sectors where the
product is delivered to the consumer, remote from the product's origin. It is this direct,
local relationship that can be a force for change.

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       

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