A SIPTU organiser has said that preliminary research findings published yesterday (Thursday, 19th November) by TASC confirms the concerns of union members about increased levels of exploitation in the hospitality sector. Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, said: “The hospitality sector is a very important part of the Irish economy. In recent years, workers in this sector have had to confront decreasing real earnings, greater physical demands and diminishing career prospects.  “TASC’s preliminary findings from its research into conditions for workers in the hospitability sector confirms what has been reported by SIPTU members that workers are experiencing greater levels of exploitation.  "This is a result of the low pay strategy which has been pursued by employers in this sector over recent years. This strategy has culminated in the employer groups in the hospitality sector effectively vetoing the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) process established by the State in January 2014 for agreeing statutory minimum wages and conditions for workers.”    She added: “A particular issue which is highlighted in the TASC research is the situation in accommodation departments in hotels across the country where female staff have to regularly turn very heavy mattresses.  This heavy work combined with a policy of ‘speed up’ being enforced by employers, which demands that workers increase the number of rooms cleaned per hour, is leading to a stark increase in occupational injuries, like back strains. “Earlier this month the SIPTU Services Division launched the ‘Make My Workplace Safe’ initiative which is aimed at publicising such bad employer behaviour in the hospitality sector. The research published by TASC today provides workers with further statistical information to back up this and similar campaigns.”    The TASC research entitled ‘Low pay, hard work – Ireland's inhospitable hospitality sector’ is part of the think tank’s ‘Working Conditions in Ireland’ project, which studies four sectors; construction, hospitality, financial services and IT/software of the Irish economy.