With our industry now ready (almost) to return to some sort of reasonable normality we are now seeing the pent-up frustration of both Employers and Employees and issues raising to the surface.
The pressures on Employers are staggering that’s for sure. many have huge debts and they continue to rise and now they are face with a massive shortage of good chefs and are having to shift that pressure back onto the small workforce that they have just to survive the rest of the year and get back some of what they have lost.
Needless to say, this is causing huge resentment to staff, who feel that they are being made to pay for what has happened over the last year or so but are they right to feel that way?
Do Employers also have a right to feel that they now should expect employees to shoulder the heavy burdens they have an “take one for the team “, soak up the pressure, work extra shifts and extra days, all for the good of the business and for the security of their job?
It's certainly a moral dilemma that none of us have ever faced before. Is it right to “guilt trip” employees, is it right to add even more pressure than they already have or is it the Employers sole responsibility to shoulder all the issues and run their business effectively from day one? Do employees have a moral obligation to support their employers by providing free labour?
At Unichef, we HAVE to see both sides of the coin. We have members who are owed thousands of pounds from employers who have no money. We have even heard of Employers keeping tips so that they can pay bills, and chefs having to clean toilets because they have no cleaner and many other sad and shocking stories. Things are not back to normal and will not be for along time.
Industry experts predict this to last in Hospitality indefinitely as few realise that we have also lost a million oversees workers, many of whom were working in our sector.
Remember nothing like this has ever happened before and we are watching carefully as they situation develops and hoping that some relief is in sight for both sides but we are not optimistic.
We warned in March 2020 that this would happen, it was sadly all inevitable and possible much worse to come as chefs now feel even more that this is “not the job for them”. Many have returned excited, but so many more have returned frightened and disillusioned and are already looking to get out.
An industry cannot simply lose that volume of workforce and not be severely affected and If, as many believe, they trade was bad before the crisis, then it’s even worse now that’s for sure, it’s in a mess and will be for a long, long time