Good news: lack of foreign workers is pushing up hospitality salaries

The sharp contraction of temporary migrants is pushing up wages in the hotel industry, according to at Restaurant and Catering Australia (RCA). But rather than letting the “market” balance supply and demand, the CAR calls on the federal government to accelerate access to cheap and exploitable migrant workers:

Pubs, bars and restaurants offer workers their choice of shifts and roles and hourly rates in some cases over $ 40, costs that a key industry body says should be passed on to workers. clients.

Wes Lambert, managing director of Restaurant and Catering Australia, said some hotel companies were paying enrollment and retention bonuses “in the thousands of dollars”.

“Some companies are offering up to $ 45 an hour for positions that would normally pay in the 1920s,” he said.

Restaurant and Catering Australia called on Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to speed up the arrival of working holidays and qualified visa holders and international students to fill the critical shortage.

The idea of ​​bringing in foreign workers to Australia to work in the hospitality industry in order to alleviate the so-called “skills shortages” is deplorable. Real evidence shows that the accommodation and food services industry (i.e. hospitality and tourism) pays the lowest wages in Australia at just $ 650 per week, according to ABS:

The accommodation and food services industry pays the lowest wages in Australia.

It is true that the accommodation and food services industry has been hit hard by the reduction in temporary foreign workers:

Temporary visa holders

These temporary visa holders tend to work in low-skilled sectors like hospitality and compete for jobs directly with young Australians:

Temporary migrants

In addition to putting upward pressure on wages, the sharp reduction in the number of temporary foreign workers has pushed youth unemployment well below pre-pandemic levels (despite recent lockdowns):

Therefore, the decline in the number of foreign workers has boosted opportunities for young Australians – an unmistakably positive result for the nation.

We must also remember that the hospitality industry is notorious for the theft and exploitation of migrants’ wages. Thus, giving the industry easier access to foreign workers will only worsen the systemic exploitation already prevalent in the hotel industry, keeping wages low and denying local workers job opportunities and a living wage. .

The long-term solution to “labor shortages” is to provide decent wages and conditions. This is how a “labor market” is supposed to work.

Politicians must stop bowing to vested interests like RCA.

Unconventional economist
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