According to the head of the CNV union, the sector has too low wages, too few prospects, and under-investment
Translated by Thomas Ansell
There is a long-term and ongoing lack of staff to fill vacancies in bars, restaurants, hotels; and cafés across the Netherlands. As one of the more tourism-driven provinces in the Netherlands, Friesland is really feeling the pinch in staff numbers. The lack of workers is so bad that a recruitment campaign has begun to bring in Spanish-based people to fill in the gaps.
“It can’t be the case that we have to bring people in from Spain”, says head of the CNV Union Piet Fortuin, highlighting that the problems of the ‘Horeca’ sector lie in its lower ages, fewer opportunities for growth, and low investment in skills. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân.
The various Dutch unions will soon enter into negotiations with the Dutch government to agree a new ‘Collective Labour Agreement’ (CAO). Fortuin says that many employers simply pay the minimum wage, or between 10 and 11 euros per hour.
The Coronavirus pandemic has made the issue even worse: “during the Coronavirus pandemic lots of people chose to leave the horeca sector, and have sought out another job, for example at the GGD”, says Fortuin.
It’s been very hard to lure these people back to the hospitality sector, says Fortuin: “it’s all about supply and demand, if you can earn more elsewhere, then you’re not going to be happy with ten euros per hour in our sector.” Other sectors in the Dutch economy also lack workers: for example in technical and building roles.
Not just low salaries
The lower salaries in the sector are just one issue, says Fortuin, “there’s a lack of people choosing to do their training in the hospitality sector, and chances of career development in the horeca is also lower. People’s long-term perspective must be improved- people should be able to make a career in the sector. If you don’t invest, then you’ll become the least attractive sector in the job market, and it’s very difficult to get people in at that point.”