Hospo Voice

5 ways to make the most of the hospo labour shortage

November 15, 2021

It’s time to make our hospitality industry better. You in?

You’ve probably noticed there’s a labour shortage in hospo right now. So many venues are begging for staff that job boards are being overwhelmed and some workers are reportedly getting offered double their hourly rate.

There are a few factors that have led to this. At each of the lockdowns, many hospo workers just got let go with no notice. Lots of people got jack of it and moved to other industries where they found more secure incomes.

Then we lost lots of our transient international student and migrant workforce and with no international travel, we haven’t been able to replace them. State borders are mostly closed, so people can’t move freely to work in other areas.

So here we are with high vaccination rates and only a few weeks until we get to the Christmas that everyone wants to celebrate. But with a major labour and skills shortage in the hospitality industry, bosses are struggling to fill shifts.

Team, it’s time to reset the industry. We’re finally in the driver’s seat. How can we make the most of the labour shortage to make the hospo industry better?

1. Get the pay you deserve

Has your boss been ripping you off? Whether they’ve paid you below award rates, some sort of salary scam, or not getting super, now’s the time to get what you deserve.

Not sure if you’re being ripped off? Check the PayChecker in the Mobilise app. Once you’ve sorted out what you should be paid, read the underpayments fact sheet in our Members’ area. It has step-by-step instructions on getting together with your colleagues and getting your stolen wages back.

If your boss is offering higher rates and salaries to new workers, join with your co-workers and negotiate for a higher wage.

2. Get job security

Would you believe that the hospitality industry has an 80% casualisation rate? With such a highly casualised workforce, we’ve put up with wage theft, sexual harassment and lack of respect.

When we complained, dodgy employers would just stop giving us shifts instead of fixing the problem. So what happens? People stop complaining and things get swept under the carpet.

It’s time this changed. We need to use this labour shortage to give us hospo workers job security. Use your position of power to push for a permanent job. Sure, hours might be plentiful right now, but you can’t rely on that. Use your leverage to maximise your future security

3. Get a safer workplace

It’s your employer’s responsibility to make sure you’re safe at work. We’ve heard heaps of stories of hospo workers dealing with faulty equipment, not enough measures to deal with heat stress in summer or bosses not taking the pandemic seriously. Not to mention the horror stories of workplace sexual harassment and bullying. Your boss should have a plan in place to reduce risks to your health and safety.

If they don’t, now is the time to change things. You could consider collectivising with your colleagues to elect a Health and Safety Rep (HSR). HSRs have legal powers to direct unsafe work to cease if there is a serious and imminent risk, and to direct unsafe work processes to be changed. We have heaps more info in our Member Hub.

Want access to the info, tips and template letters in the hospo voice member hub?

Become a Hospo Voice member now

4. Get reporting

If you’ve tried to change your workplace, and it hasn’t worked, you’ve still got the upper hand. For one, you can write a review on Fair Plate about your dodgy boss. Tell everyone about what it’s like to work there, so no one has to go through what you’ve been through.

This will be important in the next few months when the borders open up and we see more international students and migrant workers back in our industry.

5. Get a better job

Finally, it’s a job seeker’s market. If you’re not happy at work and your boss has not tried to improve conditions, it’s time to vote with your feet. When your boss doesn’t have any workers, they’ll hopefully realise they need to treat people better if they want to keep their workforce.

If you need pointers about how to collectivise, ask for a pay rise or a secure job, head to Mobilise to get advice from our awesome trained member experts. 

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