The recent call for a Minister for Hospitality was made by Chef & Restaurant Magazine’s Editor Claire Bosi, and has gained much traction, not least on twitter.
The call centres on a petition to the UK Government and Parliament that asks people to support the motion: ‘We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments’.
The petition can be seen here, and signed if you agree, we do and have, and also shows the total number of signatories ‘live’. It stands at 31,519 currently, hopefully by the time you read this it will have climbed further.
The petition has been championed by a number of people including hotelier Harry Murray MBE. Murray also wrote a letter to ‘Friends’ across the hospitality industry asking for widespread support of the initiative, the letter can be seen here.
Following the campaign over recent weeks on twitter, enthusiasts of the cause extol the spirit and momentum of it with vigour, driving the petition numbers higher. But a few doubters have now opened a wider debate questioning 1. The effectiveness of a Minister for Hospitality 2. The role of UKHospitality 3. Who are the ‘people’ making the call.
The first question was raised by hotelier Kit Chapman MBE, owner of The Castle at Taunton hotel, who in a reply to Harry Murray MBE tweeted “a ‘Minister of Hospitality’. Sorry chaps! Brave call but a total waste of energy! Name one Minister of Tourism that did us any good?”
We replied on twitter to 1. Kit Chapman MBE saying: “The fact that something hasn’t work previously cannot be allowed to stop another attempt to succeed.” He liked our reply, so we ‘assume’ he is open to the idea of trying again. We hope so and stand by the reply.
There were a number of 2. tweets referencing Kate Nicholls and UKHospitality, the work done by Nicholls and UKHospitality throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been tenacious and effective, so we’ll end that one there.
The third tweet category 3. Voiced an opinion saying: “UKHospitality claim to be the voice of the sector, they aren’t. They are the voice of the employers and hospitality is nothing without its staff.” We interpreted the tweet reply as a possible answer to why the petition is hovering around at 30,000 signatories and as such 70,000 short of its 100,000 target.
This tweet does raise some valid questions, but rather than look at what UKHospitality doesn’t do, maybe the approach warrants a wider view. With circa 3 million people working in hospitality who represents them.
UKHospitality is a membership organisation for employers and like many trade bodies in our sector the membership is predominantly taken by up employers. Most members will also be represented by senior or middle management. Most of the people in our industry are not employers, senior or middle management they are chefs, waitresses and waiters, KP’s any many other key roles that keep businesses in business.
There also does not seem to be a trade union that is dedicated to representing hospitality workers, the Unite Union would seem to be the closest we can find.
There are millions of people in our industry that have experience to share and a voice that needs to be heard, their voices would add significantly to our industry.
Most of the influential voices and names in our industry are older ones, it is time to have more younger ones. Younger voices that deliver a mix of views and opinions that may challenge convention, and rightly so. Fresh opinions adding spice and texture.
Maybe we need a young champion to step forward and galvanise the majority of people in our industry, the waitresses and waiters, chefs, KP’s and others.
Also, when as an industry we need 100,000 signatories for a Minister for Hospitality to be considered for debate in Parliament, we might just get them.
News from the hospitality and catering industry is also being featured extensively in our Facebook and twitter social media accounts with the opportunity to engage with others in hospitality and share your views.
Hospitality & Catering News: Minister for Hospitality debate – 20 October 2020 – Minister for Hospitality debate.
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