IslingtonTribune

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Staff shortage hits hospitality

Jobs fair held for hospitality staff

08 October, 2021 — By Anna Lamche

Oualid Reghis owner of Joie de Vie café

HOSPITALITY venues attended a jobs fair in search of staff amid growing shortages.

Islington Council held the jobs fair at the Assembly Hall on Upper Street on Wednesday, with a mixture of small businesses and large chains attended in the hope of recruiting.

Oualid Reghis, owner of Joie de Vie café in North Finchley, who had a stall at the event, said: “I’m here because of the staff crisis we have. Before Brexit it was easy, my email was full of CVs. Now in two to three days you get one CV and they don’t show up for interview.”

Bellanger, a French brasserie based in Islington Green also had a stall at the fair. “The industry is struggling for many reasons – Brexit strongly being one of them,” said general manager Joanna Cromwell. We’re strug­gling to find staff from the European countries we’ve always relied on.”

Many European workers travelled home during the early stages of the pandemic. Given they have spent over six months outside of the UK, it’s more difficult for them to return.

“A lot of our staff are still away and may not be able to come back,” said Ms Cromwell. The Mexican restaurant Wahaca chain also had a stall. “Being a London-based restaurant group means about 50 per cent of our team are from the EU,” said Sophie Hempstead, Wahaca’s Head of People.

“We need to make the industry more attractive again, we’ve lost our EU pipeline of talent.” The fair fell on the same day that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4 it was time for the UK to move away from an economic model “addicted to cheap labour from abroad”.

Council business chief Labour councillor Asima Shaikh said: “We’re on the side of local residents who may need help in the wake of the pandemic: with furlough now ended, many people in Islington are looking for advice on new career options and help on where to find a job with good prospects.”

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