Hospitality sector looks to reform to solve Hunter job crisis

John Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Restaurant and Catering Australia (R&CA) officially launched the New South Wales activities of a new national campaign to grow restaurant and cafe jobs.

The campaign More Jobs, More Shifts, More Choice had its national launch in Adelaide last week and has been travelling around the country visiting areas of high youth unemployment.

The NSW launch took place today in Newcastle. The launch follows the call by Newcastle City Council for a jobs task-force to tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment. Over 15 per cent of young people in the city are jobless, a figure that rises to over 24 per cent in the wider Hunter region. The More Jobs, More Shifts, More Choice highlights the employment potential of the hospitality industry.

Research commissioned by R&CA indicates many cafe and restaurant businesses close or scale back staffing to counter higher wage bills on Sundays. Sunday pay rates of up to 75 per cent extra per hour can make businesses unprofitable, with operators often unable to break-even or run at a loss.

R&CA CEO John Hart says reform is long overdue and must occur to improve the sector’s productivity and address an alarming trend of rising youth unemployment.

“We know that 43 per cent of staff in the industry are aged 15-24, compared with 16 per cent of overall employment. In an area like the Hunter where youth unemployment is a growing problem, we offer an opportunity for more young people to make a contribution to the workforce,” Hart says.

“The More Jobs, More Shifts, More Choice campaign highlights the employment opportunities associated with a harmonising Sunday pay rates with those applying on Saturday. A recent R&CA survey found that 68 per cent of hospitality businesses would invest in training, 52 per cent would hire additional staff and 41 per cent would open longer, if a single weekend rate applied,” says Hart.

“Across NSW, the application of a single weekend pay rate could create 17,800 new jobs as cafes and restaurants open longer. Some 1,440 would be in the Hunter, a region where one in five young people are out of work. Youth employment initiatives like this deserve community support,” said Hart.



Filed Under: F&B

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