Current Affairs

Stop ‘demonising’ zero-hour contracts, says Institute of Hospitality

The Institute of Hospitality has called on the future government to stop the ‘demonisation’ of zero-hour contracts in an open letter released yesterday. 

Based on recommendations by industry leaders working in food service, hotels and academia, the institute has released a list of demands named ‘What Hospitality Wants’.

The institute said the the ‘demonisation’ of zero-hour contracts has gone “too far”. It said that amongst a range of employment agreements used in the hospitality industry, zero-hour contracts have their place and ‘suit’ certain employees.

Other demands included a ‘sensible’ immigration policy, a tourism council that also represents foodservice and SMEs and the further tackling of skills and youth unemployment.

Read the full letter below:

A sensible immigration policy

We are sympathetic to politicians’ desires to ensure that British workers are not displaced by foreign labour and that benefits are not abused. But we are concerned that the drive to cut net migration has resulted in policies that may cause long-term damage. We wish for a re-instatement of post-study work visas that allow non-EU students to work in the UK for up to two years.

Keep our workforces flexible

As an industry that experiences fluctuations in demand, we need to flex our workforces accordingly. The demonisation of zero hours contracts has gone too far. Yes, exclusivity clauses should be outlawed, but it needs to be recognised that amongst a range of employment agreements used in our industry, zero hours contracts have their place and suit certain employees.

A Tourism Council that also represents foodservice and SMEs

The Tourism Council, established in June 2014, has given us a direct voice within Government and its valuable work must continue. Its representative commercial organisations, however, do not currently include foodservice companies who have the same lobbying goals. The fact that a global giant such as Compass conducts its lobbying separately perpetuates the view that our industry does not have a common voice. Together, a wider definition of tourism will make our lobbying power stronger.


A cut in tourism VAT is not going to happen any time soon, but the Chancellor George Osborne did create a tax break to encourage businesses to modernise, refurbish and expand. The Annual Investment Allowance has been increased to £500,000 until the end of 2015.  This deadline now needs to be extended to allow hotel and restaurant owners the necessary time to plan refurbishment programmes and improvements.

Tackling skills and youth unemployment

The Institute of Hospitality is proud be involved in the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship quality framework. The availability of new high-quality apprenticeships must continue to be effectively communicated, especially to SMEs, in order for employers to fully reap the benefits.

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