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Save Our Jobs

The Scottish Hospitality Group

So we have 5 tiers. 0,1,2,3,4. Not 12345. It’s never straight forward is it!

For restaurants, 0 is probably 3 households, up to 8 guests, similar to August but we’re wearing masks. I can’t see this permitted until Spring 2021. I hope I’m wrong. 1,2,3 look to be the same more or less as England. 3 may see restaurants open but with restrictions such as earlier closure or god forbid no alcohol! 4 is similar but not full lockdown.

I think that’s what it is?

Normally many of my jobs are at a desk or can easily be home based. Menu development, accounts, marketing, projects, writing etc. I have been able to choose where I want to work and chosen to be in the restaurants. Hospitality as a service can’t!

Hospitality, also, has never been classed as a Profession. There is no formal qualification. Us manual labourers don’t get that title. Over the last 10 years the difference in standards in restaurants across the UK and significantly in Scotland with the awareness of its incredible larder, has gone a massive way in changing this perception. But never have these restrictions felt so insulting, clearly sectors being closed now are not professional enough to get equal support as those first time round?

Having the freedom to choose to work is what has moved humanity out of servitude. I can not find one historical reference, other than when we have been at war and resources have been redeployed, when free people have not been permitted to work. Hospitality (and other sectors) is being prevented from working and not permitted to earn a living.

We’re being closed for a further week, with no evidence of the danger we pose and with no guarantee of an open date.

Since March, “professional” businesses that could work from home had full access to the Furlough scheme. Has the piggy bank been emptied unnecessarily or just unfairly distributed? Perhaps the “professional” received a more professional share? Forgive me if my thoughts are for our wider community at present.

The Scottish Hospitality Group, The Scottish Beer & Pub Assoc, SLTA, STA and Night Time Industries have launched a legal fight against the restrictions being placed on pubs. Eusebi’s Deli in Glasgow won a landmark case to allow it to open as a cafe. Last week we were part of the launch of Taste Communications “Save Our Jobs” campaign with many respected hospitality businesses including Prestonfield, Ondine, Timberyard, Kitchin, Three Chimneys, Gleneagles Hotel, Signature Pubs all included. The fight is on.

I’m continuing to choose to work in the restaurants. I’m not leaving our team front line. Front line where the bullets are coming from our own side. The bullets are the virus but also choices that governments are making and if I can say the ignorance of a minority of the public as to the reality of the situation the world finds itself in. To hear “it’s all so tedious” and similar flooring remarks is distressing.

Away from the front line the polls suggest that the majority of Scots are in favour of a second national lockdown. Protect the vulnerable yes.

Am I so confused with our own reality that I can’t see a second lockdown as a good choice?

The academics are showing that the economic impact is proving to be more damaging than the virus. I’m furious when I read comments that the desire to make money is being put before the health of our community. Our community is our health and wellbeing. One doesn’t exist without the other.

I wouldn’t risk the health of our family for anything. But sitting at home (again) will not help our business families if they can’t live. The Treasury’s new Job Support Scheme effective from 2nd November is an improvement but it is nowhere near the same level of support as Furlough for employees or employers. The additional support the Scottish government has in place, at present, is a token contribution. It will leave some of the most vulnerable struggling more than ever. And again businesses will pay additional costs without the ability to generate income. Despite the support there will still be many many in the wider hospitality community and other restricted sectors who will lose their jobs. In my eyes this is a clear professional imbalance that has to be fought. Our contributions to the national piggy bank over the years should be seen as the same today as in March, if we are being forced to close!

A business is a family. It has a people, it has a home (virtual or real) and it has choices.

The government is the ultimate family business. It has the responsibility of our health and our wealth. But it has a different agenda. It’s agenda is to convince us to vote for them again. That they made the right choices for the present.

Hospitality is not the problem. Official statistics show that less than 3% of outbreaks (2 linked cases) contribute to hospitality and less than 1% of staff affected. Hospitality is a safe place to socialise. With the FM’s announcement of additional powers for EHO enforcement this will only improve.

A government may change every 5 years. A family and a family business will not change its hierarchy unless they fail or a generation hands over.

For the present there is not enough support to prevent thousands of jobs being lost. Both governments need to do more.

The Scottish health board has implored the public to continue to follow Covid guidelines to help prevent overwhelming the NHS. We need discipline and compliance. We need more awareness of what is good socially conscious behaviour. We need enforcement but we don’t need lockdowns or another national lockdown. They don’t work. The only result will be making parts of our community poorer and we will be loading debt onto the next generation and the generation after that.

Hospitality has many tiers. Customers, Chefs, Managers, Front of house, Barista, Suppliers etc. We all hope that we don’t need to shed any of them.

I’m imagining no more tears, telling stories of happy times of beautiful food being shared with loved friends and family and a good portion of jam peace!

Keep well and keep safe.

Thank you as always.








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