The boss of Wetherspoons refused to accept that Brexit caused a scarcity of personnel at his pubs.
It comes after Tim Martin was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as claiming that he favored a more “liberal” visa system for dealing with shortfalls by EU employees.
Mr. Martin, a vocal Brexit backer, told the BBC that he had always favored an Australian-style system that preferentially rewarded closest Neighbours.
“No recruitment problem,” he remarked, except in small coastal communities.
Despite substantial government help, many hotel companies struggled during the epidemic and several are allegedly grappling with re-opening.
According to the UK Hospitality trade organization, Brexit has added to the problem as more EU workers return home.
Mr. Martin said a more flexible visa system for EU workers might help reduce strain on companies, according to the Telegraph.
“The United Kingdom has a low birth rate. A somewhat free immigration system regulated by those we chose, separate from the EU system, would be a benefit for the economy and for the country,” he said.
“America, Australia and Singapore have benefited from this method for many decades. Immigration works in combination with democracy. “
However, Mr. Martin told the BBC later on that the comment had been removed from context.
He claimed that Wetherspoons did not struggle to recruit and employment at their pubs was over-subscribed in some locations such as Northallerton.
Figures from the National Statistics Office in April indicate that over one in 10 UK hospitality employees quit the profession in the last year.
James Reed, Chief Employment Officer of Reed, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that in May, the company announced 275,000 new positions in the field.
“When we added them, since February 2008 we have had more jobs in May than in any month,” he stated.
Best Western Hotel group stated it could not operate several of its premises to the full due to a shortage of workers.
‘It’s becoming tight’
“One hotel had no cleaning staff to sell all its rooms,” Boss Rob Paterson told the BBC.
“When we invest so much in the fulfillment of safety procedures and need additional personnel to do this, it is becoming commercially restrictive.”
He said that uncertainty and the fear of being repeatedly furloughed had forced some employees to go.
“They don’t want to be in a hospitality industry that’s shutting down and opening up and their jobs are always at risk. It’s not just about pay conditions,” Mr. Paterson added.
UK Hospitality urged the government to encourage UK workers to enter the industry.
It also calls on the government to refresh its list of scarce jobs and to examine visas for employees who are not qualified under the system of points.
Wetherspoons, which has 871 pubs, cut the number of employees by over 6,000 in the past 12 months to around 38,000.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com