The chair of the Licensed Victuallers Association has said that hospitality businesses are suffering from ‘an extreme lack of staff in every area’ as they approach their busiest time of the year with the return of the TT.
‘Things are already bad with staffing as it stands, without putting TT on top of it,’ said Andy Saunders.
‘We’re all asking for staff, and it’s been like that for a while.’
‘It’s going to be a bumper TT this year and we’ll try our best, and I’m sure the whole island will muck in and get through it, but if the public would just be aware that there are staffing issues and be patient, then that would be a big help,’ Mr Saunders added.
He pointed out that many other hospitality businesses in the island would also need to bring in more staff for TT and would be struggling, such as campsites.
Mr Saunders also noted that all LVA businesses pay above minimum wage and so should remain attractive compared to other sectors.
As the landlord at Quids Inn, Mr Saunders said that they needed to take on five or six additional staff for TT, but were struggling to do so with not many responses to their ads.
Darren Walker, who runs Jaks Bar and The Barbary Coast, said that the businesses were fortunate because of the large workforce that they already had, due to ‘generally being quite busy all year round’.
However, he explained that as the business was also looking at setting up another bar – at the site of the former Sayle Gallery in the Villa Marina arcade – finding the 30 or so staff for this was proving to be an issue.
He pointed out that there was a particular shortage of chefs in the island, with a ‘price war’ going on as they moved to and from whichever business paid the most.
And Geoff Joughin, who owns the Albert Hotel, said that they were also fortunate to have their regular staff, but it is ‘very, very hard to find new staff for anybody in the industry’.
He added: ‘And not only our industry, but every other industry, it’s desperate.
‘And I suggested to the government before winter, that they should do away with the work permit scheme – especially before the summer [tourist] season.
‘Because if they’re wanting to start the season again [after the pandemic] you want people to be working here to take it all on board.
‘They just haven’t addressed [the issue of staffing] and it’s very said.’
Again, he explained that the Albert was fortunate to be a small pub that would typically only take on one or two extra staff for the TT period, but pointed to the likes of larger pubs like The Mitre in Ramsey which he knew were finding it ‘very difficult’ to get staff in the run-up to TT later this month.
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