‘The entire catering sector must be drastically overhauled’


The catering industry must be drastically overhauled to be future-proof. That says FNV Horeca. “Look not only at the short term, but also at the future.”

FNV Horeca has asked sector organization Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) and a number of large catering employers to consider drastic measures in the sector. The union’s only condition is that ‘labor law be respected’. The union hopes that this way as many jobs as possible can be saved.

Uncertain contracts in the catering industry

“The catering industry as it is now set up is not future-proof,” says FNV Horeca director Edwin Vlek. “Catering entrepreneurs are mainly concerned with the present.” The past few years have been golden times for the hospitality industry; there was a shortage of 70,000 catering staff. But then came the corona crisis. “Many workers found out they have a flexible contract; 70 percent of the catering staff have such a contract. And that makes it all very uncertain. ”

Vlek emphasizes that many catering staff have recently left the sector. “A lot is being asked of them. If you do experience the burdens, but not the pleasures, that will be a problem. ” He is concerned. “We see it happen that there will soon be no qualified personnel.”

Action plan for the catering industry

On October 1, government support measures will expire and companies will have to stand on their own two feet again. “Due to the enormous loss of turnover and the current measures, unfortunately many reorganisations are already taking place. How wonderful it would be if we came up with a plan of action to ‘guide the catering industry as a whole through this difficult time’.

A number of large catering employers are positive about the union’s initiative and want to have short-term discussions about cooperation. KHN chairman Robèr Willemsen said that the organization “is not in a hurry” to enter into talks with the union. “Confidence in the union was severely damaged at the beginning of the corona crisis,” explains Willemsen. “We then asked specific questions about the possible postponement of payment of holiday pay, taking vacation days or freezing pension costs. At the time, the union had zero willingness and offered no prospects at all. Many catering employers have already shown that they can arrange their affairs with the employees themselves. ”

In this photo you see people sitting on a terrace on the Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam
In order to keep the catering industry fun for everyone, the catering industry needs to be drastically overhauled, says FNV Horeca. Photo: ANP / Sem van der Wal

Not a meter and a half at the table

Two weeks ago, KHN filed summary proceedings against the government about the corona measures that apply in the catering industry. KHN wants to relax as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to the number of people who can sit at a table within a meter and a half of each other.

According to the industry, the measures that currently apply in the catering industry are much stricter than necessary. According to KHN, they are also diametrically opposed to relaxations that have been implemented in other areas. For example, the organization refers to public transport, passenger transport, sport and education.

“The water is on the lips of catering entrepreneurs,” said the decision. According to the KHN, there is no prospect and bankruptcy is imminent for many. Because sitting is mandatory, the operation of a club or nightlifecompany in the eyes of KHN, for example, actually impossible. For many companies, government support schemes would come down ‘like a straw on a hot plate’.

In this photo you can see disinfection gel at a terrace at the Rembrandtplein. Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have been relaxed, including for groups, catering, education and cultural institutions.
According to the KHN, there is no prospect for some catering entrepreneurs and for many, bankruptcy is imminent. Photo: ANP / Sem van der Wal


Vlek: “It is great that KHN has instituted summary proceedings, but this is mainly about the short term. Let’s also look at a stable future together. Of course for the interest of the sector: ultimate guest experience, healthy hospitality entrepreneurs and satisfied employees. ”

Also read: Horeca goes to court for relaxation of corona measures

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FNV: ‘The entire catering sector must be drastically overhauled’

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