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Manchester’s hospitality industry in crisis with 3,000 job vacancies

‘By continuing to pay staff minimum wage, the industry is shooting itself in the foot and can’t expect to attract new entrants.’

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@scottishstoater / Unsplash & @shumjiajia / Unsplash

Following the reopening of pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels on July 19th, Manchester’s hospitality sector is facing a mass staff shortage with over 3,000 job vacancies across the city.

Industry bosses have been reporting thousands of job vacancies across the sector, with a range of roles in some of the city’s top hotels, bars and restaurants simply not being filled.

Research by Caterer.com found that vacancies had grown by 342% since hospitality venues were allowed to reopen as Covid restrictions were lifted last month, and that 90,000 workers have left the industry since the pandemic began.

Helena Lopes / Unsplash

As a result of these staff shortages, businesses across the city have been struggling to cope with the return of customers, with many being forced to adopt shorter hours in an attempt to adapt to a smaller team.

Greater Manchester’s night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord has blamed a combination of low wages, unsociable hours, the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit on the staff shortages.

He said: “Not only has the workforce been decimated by Brexit and the introduction of salary-threshold visas, but the closures enforced during Covid lockdowns have forced staff to leave the industry and retrain, or seek higher wages elsewhere.

@scottishstoater / Unsplash

“As we rebuild, we can’t now expect the youngest and hardest hit by the pandemic to be satisfied with minimum wage roles, when they can earn higher salaries elsewhere in office work or in retail.”

He added that, by continuing to pay staff minimum wage, bosses are ‘shooting themselves in the foot’ and ‘can’t expect to attract new entrants.’

In an attempt to tackle the crisis, many businesses are now offering retention payments, bonuses and work perks to incentivise people to stay in a role beyond six months, and wages across the industry are rising as staff are tempted elsewhere by pay rises.

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Manchester woman called GP 673 times in one morning to be told to ‘try again tomorrow’

‘Waited further 20 minutes to speak to receptionist to be told there are no appointments left and try again tomorrow’

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David Totterdale / Wikimedia Commons & @taylor_grote / Unsplash

A woman from Manchester recently shared her experience when trying to book a face-to-face GP appointment, saying she called over 600 times to be told to ‘try again tomorrow’.

Francine Jury, a health researcher, took to Twitter to explain how difficult it was to get an appointment via the telephone at her local GP surgery.

She wrote: “Just Dialled GP 673 times over 28 minutes to get into phone queue at position 9. Waited further 20 minutes to speak to receptionist to be told there are no appointments left and try again tomorrow #primarycare is broken. #NHS”.

Francine later followed up her tweet by explaining that her frustration wasn’t with the NHS staff themselves, but with the ‘broken’ system that manages appointments.

She wrote: “The incredible NHS primary care staff are working in a completely broken system. Needs better funding and GPs need more flexibility… GP practices know their patients and communities best and how best to serve them.

“Give them the support they need to make the system work for everyone. Founding principle of NHS- healthcare free at point of NEED, needs better support at primary care level.”

This comes just one week after Rossendale Borough Council raised concerns over the current booking systems and availability of in-person appointments since the pandemic.

Councillor Alan Neal said that patients are visiting NHS walk-in centres and accident and emergency departments as an alternative to the lengthy waiting times to see their own doctors.

@nci / Unsplash

He said: “This is not a criticism of the medical profession. It is a criticism of the organisational system. A few years ago, CCGs [clinical commissioning group] were were set up across the country but, sadly, that system is not fit for purpose.”

Health secretary Sajid Javid recently urged GPs to scale down phone consultations now the height of the crisis is ‘way past’.

He told MPs last week that the government ‘intends to do a lot more’ to ensure in-person consultations go ahead, but did not reveal what specific actions ministers would take.

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Calling women ‘birds’ is ‘plainly sexist’, a judge has ruled

The woman’s boss allegedly used the phrase around her repeatedly, despite her asking him to stoo

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@fotoloredo / Unsplash & Barclays

A UK judge has ruled that calling women ‘birds’ is ‘plainly sexist’ and to even use the term jokingly is ‘foolish’ in a landmark discrimination case.

Judge John Crosfill was ruling on the case of a Barclays investment banker who won a sex discrimination claim after her boss repeatedly referred to herself and other female employees as ‘birds’.

According to the Daily Mail, the tribunal heard how Anca Lacatus grew uncomfortable after her boss James Kinghorn continued to use the term, even after she had asked him to stop. Kinghorn defended his use of the word, however, by saying he was being ‘light-hearted’ with the term, but the tribunal ruled the term is ‘plainly sexist’.

The tribunal, based in East London, heard that Lacatus was initially reluctant to complain about her boss’s sexist language out of fear it would have been damaging to her career, but is now set to receive compensation for his treatment of her.

Barclays

In a statement, Lacatus, who worked as a £46,000-a-year analyst for Barclays in what was her first job in investment banking since graduating from university, said her boss had first referred to a female employee as a ‘bird’ in February 2018.

She said that she immediately told him off for using the phrase but he allegedly continued to say it in a deliberate effort to make her feel uncomfortable.

The tribunal heard how Kinghorn assumed Lacatus saw his use of the word ‘bird’ as light-hearted banter, and that he was joking when he told her not to report his behaviour to HR. At the tribunal, he also accepted his language had been inappropriate.

Judge John Crosfill said: ‘The use of the phrase ‘bird’ was a misplaced use of irony which inadvertently caused offence. We accept that when this was pointed out to [Mr Kinghorn], he ultimately got the message and stopped trying to be funny. We consider that it was very foolish to assume that anybody else would find this language amusing.

@fotoloredo / Unsplash

“We find that it is likely that it took some time before Ms Lacatus was sufficiently blunt that the message hit home. The language is plainly sexist, whether misplaced irony or not.”

At the tribunal, Lacatus also won her claim that Barclays failed to accommodate to her request to change her working hours as a result of her endometriosis and anxiety diagnosis’, with her being expected to work past 7pm and between forty to forty-eight hours a week on average. Judge Crosfill slammed this as a ‘serious act of discrimination and one that was exceedingly thoughtless’.

She was signed off in January 2019 and was later made redundant by the bank. A hearing to decide compensation will take place at a later date.

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Mum accused of ’embarrassing’ her kids after buying them Lidl branded trainers

The supermarket claim the shoes can give a ‘retro feel to any outfit without compromising on comfort’

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Psicopatria / Wikimedia Commons & Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK / Facebook

A mum recently came under fire for apparently ’embarrassing’ her children when she bought them each a pair of Lidl’s newly released trainers.

Now, you’ll probably be aware of the footwear in question; Last week, the budget supermarket announced the first ever UK launch of its infamous yellow, blue, red and white trainers.

The shoes first caused a stir in 2019 when they went viral after appearing in an Italian branch. Priced at a very reasonable €13, the world descended into total chaos as people fought valiantly to get their hands on a pair.

And even when they sold out, the chaos continued online, with people flogging their own pairs for eye watering sums of money; even today, a pair of Lidl trainers can be found on eBay priced at £499.98.

Madness.  

@erkinhassan / Instagram

Anyway, as the Lidl-mania resumed again last week with the launch of their UK trainers, one unsuspecting mum came under fire when sharing her purchase online.

Posting on the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK Facebook page, the mum shared a picture of two pairs of trainers purchased as a gift for her children, writing happily: “My two crazy daughters have their hands on the Lidl trainers.”

However, other members of the group didn’t share her excitement with many going as far to accuse her of embarrassing her kids with her gift. One person wrote: “I would not embarrass my child by putting them in them. Primark probably sells cheaper trainers that are better looking.”

Another simply asked: “Why would anyone want these?”

Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK / Facebook

Someone else even went as far as suggesting her children will get bullied, writing: “Kids will get bullied for wearing these. I wouldn’t put my kids through that.”

However, some social media users were a little more supportive of the mums gift, with one person writing:  “For anyone saying how could you do that to your kids. They want to, everyone’s wearing this sort of stuff at festivals now along with their IKEA bucket hats. No one will be getting bullied for it.”

Another noted: “There were kids in my local Lidl yesterday complaining because they’d sold out of these trainers. They’re turning into the latest fashion trend.”

To find your closest Lidl and get your hands on a pair, visit the Lidl store locator here.

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