Holidaymakers are set to find bars and restaurants CLOSED across Europe due to a lack of staff

Staff shortages across Europe are wreaking havoc on the hospitality industry, with airlines, bars and restaurants failing to meet post-pandemic demand.

Popular mainland resorts have been forced to close early or close for days due to lack of workers.

In Spain, British holidaymakers were unable to visit some of their favorite hotspots, with around 4,000 vacancies in Benidorm.

It is estimated that only half of the vacancies will be filled by summer, when the resort sees a massive influx of tourists.

Across the country, total shortages in bars and restaurants could reach 100,000, trade association Cepyme said.

Staff shortages across Europe are wreaking havoc on the hospitality industry, with airlines, bars and restaurants failing to meet post-pandemic demand (file image)

The Spanish government had blamed waiters’ low pay, poor working conditions and long hours, while others pinpointed the post-pandemic WFH campaign and furlough payments.

Business owners say the problem is a lack of workers with relevant experience.

“The role of a waiter has always been underestimated,” said one owner. “You have to change your image.”

In April, there were more than 17,000 job openings in the hospitality industry, six times more than last year.

Manuel, a former hotelier, told 20minutos: “People don’t want to work on the weekends and the hotel business is made for the weekends.”

Alex Fratini, spokesman for the Association of Bars, Restaurants and Cafeterias of Benidorm (Abreca) said: “We see that the problem is not money. The salary of a waiter in Benidorm is around 1,200 euros net per month. In addition, there are a lot of tips, especially with the English.

“Each server takes about 300 euros more per month.”

Alicante is not alone in the problem as there are thousands of vacancies across Spain.

The president of the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises, Gerardo Cuerva, said the shortage of workers suffered by the hospitality industry was NOT due to a salary problem and criticized the reasoning of the Spanish government.

“The hospitality industry cannot currently cover some 100,000 jobs,” he said. “We have analyzed the problem and possible lines of action have been proposed, but it is alarming that the government continues without facing the necessary structural reforms and is sent with irresponsible statements.”

Popular mainland resorts have been forced to close early or close for days due to a lack of workers (file image)

Popular mainland resorts have been forced to close early or close for days due to a lack of workers (file image)

Another industry leader said: “In a country where tourism is an economic engine, no one has thought of a serious training plan for the hospitality industry.”

The situation in Spain mirrors that of France, which has around 250,000 vacancies in restaurants and cafes.

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.

“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.

To add to financial difficulties, the French economy contracted in the first quarter as households spent less than expected due to rising inflation.

Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has been forced to cancel or divert flights due to the staff crisis

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has been forced to cancel or divert flights due to the staff crisis

France’s worse-than-expected performance puts an end to the country’s strong economic rebound from the pandemic and poses a challenge to Macron, who won re-election last month.

Airlines are also struggling to respond to the post-Covid travel boom, with passengers forced to queue for hours due to shortages.

Last weekend, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam was forced to cancel or divert flights due to the staff crisis.

Heathrow is trying to hire 12,000 new workers and Brussels Airport has 1,000 vacancies.

Airport association ACI Europe said traffic had increased “sharply and suddenly” and was now “much more concentrated during peak periods”, causing travel chaos.

The tight labor market for lower-paying jobs has led to fierce competition in the hospitality and airline sectors, which haemorrhaged staff at the start of the pandemic.

ACI Europe Managing Director Olivier Jankovec and ASA Managing Director Fabio Gamba said: “The fact that security and ground handling jobs have been at the bottom of the salary scale and also involve working in shifts seven days a week is an obvious handicap to attract people in the current inflationary environment.

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