Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Immigration Issues

Bailiwick Express reported that:

A popular local pizza chain has had to close its St Helier outlet, citing Population Office "constraints" as the cause. Pizza Quarter, which opened in Bel Royal in 2009 and has since expanded to Grève d’Azette and Gorey, says it was forced to close its St Helier branch last week. The management have since hit out at the migration regulation department, stating that their clampdown has unfairly disadvantaged the business, despite its continual efforts to improve the Island.Deputy Jackie Hilton, speaking on Channel TV News, suggested that there must be something wrong if they could not find local workers.

It might be the case that the wages were better suited to an immigrant workforce, and were quite low. Terry on Facebook wondered if this was the case – “Something else behind the closure and just blaming an easy target. Pay a living wage and get good staff.”

It would be useful to know what wages were on offer from Pizza Quarter. I’d gladly run their advert on my blog for locals for free.

Former Constable Graeme Butcher on Facebook tells a different story:

“I know a local lad that applied for a job with that company and was willing to do all sorts of hours the owner promised to get in touch as soon as Gorey opened .. this lad kept in touch but he had employed non local, there is not a desire from many of these companies to employ local, but there are also many locals that just want to sit on their arse and take welfare,these need the Preferbial arse kicking”

Highlands College runs catering courses, and I wonder if the “Jersey Progression Diploma in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Service” provides students with sufficient skills to prepare Pizzas. Has the owner of Pizza Quarter liaised with Highlands to see if there are students looking for opportunities there?

Of course a lot of companies want ready-skilled staff, which is why the new levy proposed by Paul Routier will allow the States to put money into training and retraining, to avoid the need to buy in staff from outside the Island.

Companies will be charged £50 per year for every registered permission they hold – excluding peak season staff. Ministers are hoping to raise £600,000 a year, with half to be reinvested in skills training for islanders so that they can fill vacant job roles. As Paul Routier said:

“These fees will get businesses to really think do they actually need to have registered people when there are already people in the island who might be able to do the job for them.

“We’re going to put more money into training people up.

“Hopefully businesses will recognise the efforts we are putting in to ensure that the workforce do have the right skills for their business.”

Many Island businesses have not been very good at training staff when there is a quick and cheaper alternative – get the staff ready trained from abroad. That is certainly something which Mr Butcher is quite correct about. Changing that mindset is a difficult one, but if we are not to be stuck with exponential growth, they are a necessity.

The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, sticks to the tired mantra that we need to grow the population to take care of the ageing population, which even the JEP sees is actually a discredited Ponzi argument.

1 comment:

James said...

Many Island businesses have not been very good at training staff when there is a quick and cheaper alternative

There are all too many jobs where training is neither cheap nor quick. In fact, for most jobs that pay significantly above minimum wage, importing staff is almost certainly going to be less of a cost: you get someone who is ready to start, who has already demonstrated that they have know-how and a good work ethic, and who will not cause a drag on the business while they are learning.