Faced with a labor shortage in the hotel and hospitality industry, Monaco is laying the groundwork for a new model

Faced with a labor shortage in the hotel and hospitality industry, Monaco is laying the groundwork for a new model

If the monastic hotel and hospitality sector benefited from the fruitful summer season [lire notre édition du 15 octobre], however, it suffers from real difficulties in recruiting the workforce. The key to “withdrawing” employees who want, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, to get better working conditions? Make the profession attractive.

The first step was taken with the historic agreement signed by the Association of Hotel Industries of Monaco (AIHM), the Union of Hotels, Cafes, Restaurants (HCR) and the Union of Chefs and Pastry Chefs of Monaco, which made it possible to raise the minimum wages of the Monaco Hotel Convention. In the interview he gives us, Alberte Escande, president of AIHM, also praises other advantages of working in the Principality. She also knows that it is necessary to make an effort in terms of transportation, after 11 p.m., and housing.

Since the pandemic, the hospitality industry has suffered from staff apathy and, in effect, a labor shortage. Do you feel it in Monaco?

There have been changes in behavior and the profession is no longer attractive. When we talk to employees, they now feel the need to live differently: to enjoy their loved ones, life, travel.

Bad publicity has been given to the sector and post-Covid there has been a lot of union movement.

To make him attractive, a salary increase is needed. The AIHM and the two USM unions have indeed signed a historic agreement on this topic. The result of intense negotiations?

It was not easy because each entity had its own role. We found a compromise and updated the pay scales that have remained unchanged since 1999. With this agreement, with equivalent working hours (39 hours) and qualifications, employees paid on the conventional monastic scale will receive a net salary higher by 22 to 28% to their French counterparts. This is because of the advantages of our conventional agreements (60 meals a month, Sentence Piens…) and specifics that Monaco offers such as an additional 5% advantage for low wages and lower employee contributions.

One of your current missions is to promote the monastic social model to attract more employees.

To persuade, you must communicate. There is a lack of knowledge about what is happening in the Principality. In addition to this recent salary increase, which will be reflected in the December salary, working here has many advantages. Starting with the seniority bonus provided for in our collective agreement [5% après 5 ans, 10% après 10 ans, 15% après 15 ans]. We also have 12 guaranteed public holidays in Monaco compared to 6 in France in our sector.

Social Security is much more generous in its contribution to the health costs of monastic employees and their families. CAR offers the option of retiring at age 60 without reducing monthly payments, thus debating the postponement of the retirement date in France. There are also Monegasque family allowances for French employees, which are particularly protective and generous as they are paid from the first child and increase with the age of the child.

Despite these advantages, there are still big black spots, especially evening transport…

This problem has been discussed for more than 15 years. After 11 pm, there are no more offers. It’s catastrophic. However, when we are still serving guests at that time, waiters and dishwashers must remain. During the meeting, the state minister asked us to do a study on that topic. This summer, therefore, a survey was conducted among 4,202 employees – out of 7,148 in the sector – in 70 restaurants and 10 hotels.

What are the conclusions?

10% of employees use a bus, 30% a train, 22% a car and 37% a two-wheeler. It seems that during the day passengers are satisfied, but that there is a lack of transport after 11 pm. It weakens our sector. Employees believe that they are poorly informed in advance about schedule changes. They also want to introduce enhanced service in the event of a strike. It would also be desirable to consider car parks and strengthen bus lines on the Monaco-Nice and Monaco-Menton routes.

Do you work on housing contacts?

In Monaco, due to the lack of land, it is difficult. We worked with the Montjoi association on a project in Menton to accommodate seasonal workers in studios. His role is to build buildings when he has land or to renovate apartments. The former mayor, Jean-Claude Guibal, was favored but died. New [Yves Juhel, N.D.L.R.] I don’t want anymore. So it failed. The association offered me a project in Nice, but that didn’t solve the problem.

What efforts do you make for your employees?

We close on Sundays because we want our employees to use this day off with their families. The second day of rest is to their liking. I miss the kitchen staff today. If I can’t find two seconds, I’ll be forced to close an extra day. Moreover, we close for a week on Christmas Day and next summer we close for three weeks in August. It’s a financial loss, but if I want to keep my staff, I have to make concessions. If we do nothing in this profession, we will have more and more difficulties in finding staff. Since Covid, well-being has taken on an even more important role, and that’s normal. And I want their well-being.

A few weeks ago, Christophe Robino mentioned the problem of cuts that increase the volume of work and complicate the issue of transport…

It’s a really big project. It’s easy to talk about, but it’s harder to set up, especially in small institutions that almost all work with this system. For the employer, this means doubling the workforce. For the employee, it is impossible if he lives in Nice. We will work on this topic and establish a charter of black points.

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