COVID-19 has put me in an unprecedented position, I’m unemployed and within a week of being unable to pay rent. As a casual hospitality worker, the current pandemic has severely impacted my life. Starting a new job at a hotel two weeks ago (after a period of unemployment), I saw an opportunity to finally achieve some semblance of financial stability; a hard ask for a working student even in normal conditions.
On Monday, two conferences that I was meant at work at were cancelled with less than a day’s notice, and by Tuesday I was informed by management that all casual staff were “suspended indefinitely”and their shifts cancelled. Not only had I lost 36 hours pay for one week, but my only source of income for the foreseeable future.
I’ve spent the last couple of days scrambling for cash, applying for jobs in nightfill and in queues at Centrelink; all of which have been fruitless. At this point I don’t see how I will be able to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head. Right now I’m feeling extremely anxious about what the future holds. Without substantial savings, losing my job suddenly and with no form of compensation leaves me in an extremely perilous position in which I can’t guarantee my own wellbeing. Furthermore, the risk of contracting the virus and having to battle it without any financial security only adds to my fear.
The scary part is that this is not just going to go away quickly. Being told that I’ll get shifts once “business returns to normal” does not give me any comfort. My situation has deteriorated so quickly that I am in need of immediate help, not a promise of work six months down the line.
Hospitality workers will be ravaged without firm government plans to stop dismissals, protect wages and guarantee sick/isolation pay for all casual, part-time and full time workers.
Right now it’s mostly casual hospitality workers who are reeling from the effects of COVID-19, but this will grow to affect all workers, regardless of employment type or industry, if immediate action is not taken.
As one of the many casual hospitality workers in the first wave of COVID-19 related layoffs things really aren’t looking great, all I can do is stand in solidarity with my fellow workers and union and hope that immediate plans are put in place to stop others falling into my situation