Channel4 – Dispatches. Too close to the truth for the industry?

Yet another piece of investigative journalism beating the Hospitality sector was aired on Channel 4 last night.

It outlined the shady practices that are allegedly happening in one particular Premier Inn. Staff being told to report early for unpaid meetings or do their preparation in their own time, an unreasonable time quota set per workload etc.

Now as a veteran of nearly 30 years in the Hospitality sector I know what it is like, & how hard it can be. So imagine my disdain when HR office dwellers are calling it a stitch-up, people like Sam Shepherd, Head of HR at Jurys Inn. A person who has come from a purely Retail background & has little or no Hospitality experience according to her LinkedIn profile

Her post on LinkedIn was as such:

“C4 programme on Premier Inn is not a fair reflection of Hospitality or even of Premier Inn – the accommodation employees do not work for PI and the work practices I am sure would not be condoned by PI and would certainly not be condoned by most hospitality companies.”

And at 19hours after posting it has 75 likes & 17 comments (mostly agreeing with her), sadly most the point about the widespread use of unethical & illegal practices concerning unpaid overtime. Looks like Generation Snowflake strikes again.

The full post can be seen here; LinkedIn:

However, when I posted on Facebook this:

Ch4 rinsed the #Hospitality sector once again for bad employment practice.
All the office-dwelling HR types are denouncing it as a stitch up job.
Got news for you:
Working unpaid overtime in the UK hospitality sector is the norm, it has been for years.
Tight margins, low pay, long hours & poor conditions are happening on your watch – deal with it.

There was a wave of support from ppl who can see that issues like this need to be addressed. Yes there are the token gestures from within the industry of 4 day weeks etc, but where are the industry leaders speaking up against this – Nowhere, that’s where.

I have eight hospitality RSS feeds coming into my reader, & I’ve seen the news about Russell Norman opening his chain of restaurants at airports three times, yet nothing from BHA, ALMR or any other industry leaders condoning this culture.

So next time the industry complains about the staff crisis, think back to this point. If anything the Hospitality industry & its leaders are something akin to being the Captain on Exxon Valdez; trying to avert disaster on something that reacts too late, and only when there is a crisis point will the industry change.

To quote Ghandi:

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

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