Jersey’s Hospitality Association is calling for more flexibility around the recruitment of non-local workers following the manager of the Lamplighter’s decision to close his kitchen after struggling to recruit a chef.
The Association’s Vice-president Natalie Duffy said that many JHA members find it "extremely difficult" to get staff this season and that finding chefs is particularly tough at the moment.
She said: "The experience that the management at the Lamplighter have had in trying to find staff is not isolated by any means.
"We need staff who are qualified and able to step into roles at the right level and at this point in the season it can be especially hard to recruit. The shortage of employable staff is further compounded by the demand for higher wages resulting chef salaries rising which is particularly problematic for smaller businesses."
Sean Murphy, who has been at the helm of the Lamplighter for the past 15 years, closed the pub's kitchen on Monday after spending a month looking for a chef. He said his year is the worst he has ever seen in terms of recruitment. He also explained he thinks the States, and the restrictions they imposed around licensed staff are responsible, for the situation.
Pictured: Sean Murphy closed the Lamplighter kitchen on Monday after struggling to recruit a chef.
"That five-years thing doesn't work for us," Mr Murphy said. "I understand why they do it because we need to control the population. We are only a small island and we can't go on and on like this. I just wished they reintroduced work permits. I feel the States have let us (hospitality) down so much. Finance always get licences, the States look after them. But they have left us alone, we're second-class citizens and they just don't care about us."
Mrs Duffy says the States need to work with the hospitality "to provide adequate flexibility in licensing" to maintain the current standard of service in the island. She said: "Hospitality is seeing a resurgence of optimism and the figures are looking positive for the last year but if we aren’t able to employ people of the right calibre then maintaining this upward trend and the consequent boost to the economy will be far harder for all businesses.
"All our members work closely with employment and training agencies in Jersey but we also need the support of our government to actively seek to attract seasonal quality staff to the island."
The JHA say they will continue to call on government to support it by helping to encourage quality staff to choose Jersey over other European destinations for hospitality work.
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