French hotel bosses blame Macron’s furlough scheme which saw workers sitting at home on FULL PAY

European restaurants are struggling to fill thousands of vacancies for waiters and cooks – as French hospitality bosses blame Macron’s furlough scheme which has seen workers sit at home on FULL PAY

  • France has around 250,000 vacancies in restaurants and cafes to fill
  • Europe struggles to fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies
  • The sector is crumbling under the pressure of the lack of staff and the influx of tourists

Hundreds of thousands of vacancies are clogging the hospitality sector across Europe as the industry struggles to keep up with rising tourist numbers.

France has around 250,000 vacancies in restaurants and cafes, with businesses warning they are ill-prepared for an influx of tourists this summer now that Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

French business owners have blamed President Macron’s Covid furlough scheme, which allowed staff to stay home on full pay during the pandemic.

The French president himself described it as the most generous program in Europe. But many never returned to the industry.

The Montmartre district in Paris is represented. French business owners have blamed President Macron’s Covid furlough scheme for staff shortages, which has allowed staff to stay home on full pay during the pandemic

“We have candidates but they are all students with no experience and who only want to stay for the summer. They should therefore be trained, and once they have been trained, they will leave,” said Georgio Benuzzi, 42, owner of Le Petit Josselin creperie in the Montparnasse district of Paris.

He plans to expand his venue’s dining room, he said The temperaturewanting to add 18 more diners outside on top of the 36 seats inside, but he’s having trouble finding servers.

“Nobody wants to work full time,” he said. “One wants to do Monday noon but not Monday evening, another does not do Wednesday. It’s really complicated.

The unemployment rate in France has reached 7.3%, the lowest since 2008, with jobs available in other sectors.

Macron said he was proud of the emergency economic measures taken by his government to support employment during the pandemic and highlighted a reduction in unemployment from 9.6% to 7.4%.

President Macron has bragged about his unemployment as a key success of his presidency in the last election which saw him beat rival Marine le Pen.

But the success in reducing unemployment has resulted in an influx of young workers who traditionally support the hospitality sector seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Many job vacancies pay more than the minimum wage of €8.60 per hour in hotels and restaurants.

In Italy, Massimo Bettoja, owner of the elegant Hotel Mediterraneo in Rome, raised similar concerns.

“We called back the 100 employees we furloughed during Covid and 30 didn’t show up,” he said. “Now that we are full of bookings again, we may have to reduce capacity by 20% to avoid poor service.”

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