The so-call Fair Pay Act took affect yesterday and hospitality workers are expected to be the first to seek a so-called Fair Pay Agreement:
How on earth can it be fair to impose pay and conditions of thousands of different workplaces in different places with different requirements of their staff?
How can it be fair to treat staff in fine dining restaurants the same as those serving fast-food takeaways?
How can it be fair to treat businesses in big cities or tourists hotspots where costs including land and buildings are higher the same as businesses in small towns where costs are lower?
Friends own and run a hospitality business.
That has never been easy, the Covid lockdowns and restrictions made it harder and the past year has been a nightmare.
They can’t get enough local staff and although they are accredited to employ immigrants, getting visas for potential staff is like swimming through syrup in gumboots.
Their costs have gone up – wages, food, gas, power.
If they put up prices they will be fuelling inflation and get customer resistance. If they don’t, their business will no longer be viable.
Their story is not unique.
Staff wanted signs are in almost every café and restaurant in Wanaka.
When we ate at one recently we piled our dishes at the end of the table to help our waiter.
He thanked us and said, “you’ve passed your trial, the kitchen is through there you can start now.”
We asked how hard business was and he told us it was brutal.
The last thing these small businesses need is unfair pay agreements which can’t take into account local differences.