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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

From cooks, waiters and truck drivers. How deep can we go down the drain?

Hospitality is slowly reopening, but with the restrictions that still exist, it will have to experience little business and even more bankruptcies. Tourism can only recover very slowly as the airlines are still flying below 50% of the capacities of the pre-pandemic times.

The staff is missing left and right which is not only felt in the hotel and catering industry, but also, as you can see in England, with deliveries by truck drivers. That is partly due to Brexit, but it makes clear what the real problem is in all of Europe.

The airports are also suffering from a lack of staff. FRAPORT, operator of Frankfurt Airport, has laid off up to 6,000. They cannot simply be replaced because not every new temporary worker can immediately refuel a jumbo jet, knows the traffic rules of an airport and not everyone immediately knows what the difference between baggage and cargo is. This is just as true in the hotel and catering trade as it is with care takers or truck drivers. On my flight a week ago, the captain apologized for the delay on the grounds that this now happens regularly because the ground handling is simply not as fast as normal. That at 50% occupancy! What happens at 70% occupancy?

Cooks and waiters were paid and treated worse year after year. Outsourcing was the slogan that ruined the job market and allowed minimum wages to be bypassed perfectly. During the lockdowns, many learned that there is a more comfortable life than the restaurant business that pays as much or more with shorter working hours.

In England they are now considering issuing visas again because they are hoping for cheap labor from other countries. There are enough people in England who can drive trucks but they have to be paid fairly.

It is a political failure that minimum and collectively agreed wages are no longer paid, but that temporary work, agency work and outsourcing are supported. To complain now that nobody wants to work on the terms is shameful. How deep can you get down?

The claim that if you pay fairly, you are no longer competitive must be meant as a joke. Millions and billions are possible in executive board bonuses and salaries, billions for consulting firms and a few million more in bribes for mask deals, Cumex bank businesses, and especially right now the pharmaceutical industry. Care takers, cooks, waiters and truck drivers could all be paid fairly for a fraction of this money. We have a distribution problem it looks like. Let's see if one of the politicians can solve that. One of the arguments against it is that small businesses in particular cannot afford it. Why not? Because they pay by far too many taxes and fees. It is then again a case for politics! Don't yell for waiters and cooks as long as you don't want to pay!

Stephan Busch has an invaluable and diverse experience in the hospitality industry ranging from senior management positions with the most renowned hotel and resort companies to the project development - launch of operations, business development- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.

His expertise includes not only planning, opening and operating of hotels, international golf clubs, airports, resorts and cruise ships, but also successful restructuring and repositioning of businesses during the financial crisis in Asia.

Stephan Busch earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA and served many years as Academic Director / Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism at the State University for Humanities RGGU Moscow as well as the Swiss International University St. Petersburg.

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