Heraklion: One in four hotel employees did not return to their post – Crete

Heraklion: One in four hotel employees did not return to their post – Crete
Heraklion: One in four hotel employees did not return to their post – Crete

It is estimated that 25% of hotel employees who worked in hotel units in 2019 did not work this year

25% of the hotel employees who worked in hotel units in 2019 did not work this year, with the direct consequence that the labor force leakage is large in the prefecture of Heraklion. This is made clear by the president of the Hotel Employees’ Association of Heraklion, Nikos Kokolakis, who argued that this year the hotel units had large gaps in working staff and more specifically in areas such as cleaning and the kitchen. At the same time, representatives of the hotel industry make it clear that OTEK bears a huge responsibility for the degradation of the hotel sector.

It is not original for someone to claim that this year’s course is similar to that of 2019. The number of arrivals exceeded 2019, spreading optimism on the one hand for the recovery of our country’s tourism course and on the other hand for the creation of a tourist year that will last and endurance until winter. This was also stated by the competent Minister of Tourism, Vassilis Kikilias.

But there is an issue regarding the number of hotel staff working in the hotels. During the corona virus period, many hotels did not open. In fact, the number of hotels that opened in 2020 was only 30% of all hotel units in the entire prefecture of Heraklion. The remaining 70% of hotel units did not open, with the direct consequence that workers continued to receive unemployment benefits.

The following year was better, in the sense that the number of hotels opened reached 70% in total. The hotel workers, however, were given the choice of whether they wanted to work or not. If they did not wish, the hotel employees could enter a work suspension regime and receive 534 euros. It was a period of time where the dire economic conditions, combined with health insecurity, resulted in the exit of many people from the field of tourism and hotels.

In fact, this phenomenon was defined by the international literature and news as “the Great Resignation”, which captures in the clearest way that the salaried worker, i.e. the worker who has a dependent form of work relationship with the employer, does not wish to work. In the area of ​​hotels, the so-called conversion of professional orientation was observed. Many people left for other fields of activity such as primary production etc.

What is happening now? In terms of arrivals, are we at the same levels as in 2019?

To this question, the president of the Hotel Employees’ Association of Heraklion, Mr. Nikos Kokolakis, responded negatively, who argued that “100% of the hotel employees have not returned. We have losses, as many have left due to the seasonality that plagues the hospitality sector on the one hand and on the other due to the pandemic. The pandemic created issues of sustainability and many left revising perceptions and views of the past. Based on my own estimates, a percentage of the order of 20-25% of the hotel staff has left permanently and irreversibly and, unfortunately, will not return. It is really a big problem and the State should look at it as seriously as possible. Pillars of our tourism product are the hotel employees, who despite the difficult health circumstances, we “raised our stature” so that the country appears worthy of expectations”.

He clarified that the biggest deficiencies are in specific areas.

“The biggest shortages are in the kitchen, namely the cooks and the waiters. There is also a shortage of maids. More generally, the kitchen and cleaning are the two areas where there are more deficiencies”, Mr. Kokolakis pointed out.

“The new generation is leaving”

The new generation does not want to work in hotels, as argued by the general secretary of the Hotel Employees Association of Heraklion, Nikos Smyrnakis, while he launched his “fires” against the responsible bodies for the degradation to which OTEK has fallen. According to him, OTEK no longer produces worthy tourist executives, as it did 20-30 years ago.

“I cannot determine exactly the percentage of workers who left the hotel units. Certainly, however, there are shortcomings. The problem is that the new generation does not want to come into the hotel business. Unfortunately, the seasonal profession has disappeared. It no longer has the momentum it had 20-30 years ago. The issue is that many hotels want to upgrade and staff are needed. To upgrade a hotel and more specifically a five star hotel to become a five star + or a 4 star hotel to become a 5 star needs to get more staff. Where will you find staff when there is no required demand from the domestic workforce?”, stressed Mr. Smyrnakis.

The state’s responsibility – “Thorn” the downgrading of OTEK

Among other things, Mr. Smyrnakis made it clear that “OTEK is also responsible. OTEK has been downgraded. He no longer has the boarding school, as a result of which a young person from the village does not want to come to Heraklion to study tourism. OTEK must be upgraded. In the past, this school produced 250-300 graduates. This is not happening now.”

It is worth mentioning that in many reports of “NK” the degradation of this particular educational institution has been mentioned. It is characteristic that the Union of Cooks and Confectioners of Heraklion has published several press releases that make the problem clear, since the working conditions have been deemed unsustainable. At a time when Greece and more specifically Crete is trying to reorganize economically and touristically, the creation of an educational institution that will provide the necessary know-how-training to each potential hotel employee is imperative. The State must therefore take seriously the requests of the authorities.

(pexels file photo)

The article is in Greek

Tags: Heraklion hotel employees return post Crete

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