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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

They have us where they want us! Lets prepare to battle the long term effects on hospitality jobs

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I just read a positive note with thoughts regarding hospitality and the world after the Corona panic. I attach it at the bottom of this article. I hope it will come true. It would be perfect. But I also love fairy tales so don’t trust me on that one. But its worth reading. (Unfortunately I don’t know anymore the author – my apologies – if he reads that please send your name – I will add it). One item mentioned is that we will think more local, buy more local and take more care of the community we are living in. Keep it in mind! A thought that we should apply to our hospitality jobs in the future. But we have to be bold.

Be tough – otherwise they will take advantage of us again

I am afraid the problems and hardship will be a longer lasting issue. In hospitality we have a bigger problem then in any other industry. We – as hospitality workers - should be prepared – not desperate ( even though the situation suggest this) – and we should be ready to be tough! Sounds strange in time when most are out of money – hope to get at least some income - but rethink and keep the following in mind for after the crisis - when they need us again.

When tourism and hotel business starts up again

.... we will be needed again. You will be eager to go to work and make some money for your family. Your apartment carpets has holes from you running around – your wife wants to get out of the house but more then that she wants you to get out of the house. Back to work!

But I am afraid the first things they – especially the big companies and brands - will tell you are the following:

That’s great - with all your experience join us - but you have to understand that we can not pay what we paid before the crisis. We had such a hard time and the depts. – you wont believe it! But of course for you it is a chance to start again. And we will give it to you.

Maitre’D ? You have 20 years experience but right now we can only hire you as a senior waiter. The Maitre position is filled with one of our long term employees ( who is most properly the owners wife’s cousins nevew who worked two weeks in dishwashing before but needs money now. If you never worked in hospitality you wont believe it. If you are in hospitality – you have seen this!)

Holidays and social well fare – here we have to ask for your understanding as after such a crisis we all have to pull together to get back on our feet right? Yes it is written in the law but if you sign this and this waiver it is possible. But we give you a job! Don’t forget this is your chance!

Working hours are 40 hrs. a week. But sometimes more - please watch that this wont happen! ( Of course they expect your overtime – unpaid as usually we work 60 hrs. to 90 hrs. a week in hospitality always unpaid) As we said – please watch out that this doesn’t happen. ( and if it happens then – and it will happen – it’s you fault – they told you!)

First – contract for only a year - it will be a time limited contract. I am sure you are aware that’s normal nowadays ( it is in most countries - after most government gave into to the industry lobbyist who save billions). After that you will be a full employee. ( except for the waivers you signed.) After one year they will ask you to sign the next one year contract. And you are in the hamsters wheel forever! Mercedes in Germany is one of the companies that makes millions with that scheme year after year.

What shall we do?

Many – I heard it often in the last weeks – say – there is nothing we can do!

If we start thinking like this – with this attitude you are right – there is nothing we can do!

This virus panic changed the world we live in. There are a lot of losers and they want us to be among them. But – no surprise there are some big winners too!

We can do better – we have to do it different. There is a way to do better for us – the employers and middle management.

I will write about the ideas tomorrow. There some ideas from some very bright people how we should behave differently after this crisis and some from myself which might be not so bright but at least based on 40 years experience in this business.

Stay fit – we will survive – and if we do it right we will advance for us and our families.

Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.,  

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