Occupational stress in the Hospitality Industry: an employment relations perspective
This article endeavours to draw attention to occupational stress amongst workers in so-called ‘low risk industries’ – namely the service and hospitality industries - and to explore their perceptions of stress, their attitudes to managing stress and their responses to the recent inclusion of stress in the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act, 2002. It is also the intention to broaden the scope of analysis by investigating a range of employment factors – such as heavy workloads, interpersonal relationships and organisational factors - which can contribute to occupational stress amongst workers. Findings from two case studies are reported and they indicate that working in the hospitality industry can be stressful and that many workers are vulnerable in terms of their poor working conditions and low wages. Consistent with other studies, it was also found that there was low trade union presence and a high rate of casualisation and staff turnover. At the same time, there was a lack of overt conﬂict between management and workers, with an apparent close alignment of goals between the two parties and a style of management that could be described as unitarist.