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Why One Hospitality Worker Left The Industry

Fed-up Edinburgh hospitality worker on why he has left the industry for good

A fed-up Edinburgh hospitality worker has opened up on why he has left the industry for good after facing difficulties throughout the pandemic due to low pay and uncertainty.

Ellis Ridley spent around ten years working in several positions across hospitality, including working in bars, working events and running bar and security teams.

The 28-year-old has worked events across the capital including the Fringe, concerts, events at Murrayfield, and in student bars and clubs including the students association at Bar 50, collecting a breadth of experience from across the industry.

But since the pandemic has made the switch to be a civil servant as he couldn’t take anymore.

Hospitality staff often work long hours for minimum wage, have zero hours contracts and many were let go without any notice when the pandemic forced the nation into lockdown leaving them out of work for months.

Bars and restaurants across the capital are now struggling to retain staff and keep up with the high demand of customers since the industry reopened.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live he said: “I worked at Bar 50 on Cowgate over the pandemic. I left hospitality partially due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and also the general lack of good pay and progression in the industry.

“Especially with the added risks associated with the pandemic.

“Hospitality definitely changed, throughout there was a lot more pressure and work on the staff, from management to bartenders and everyone in between.

“Dealing with the rule changes and staff shortages alongside the often resistant, sometimes hostile behaviour of customers who don’t want to follow the rules.

“It stopped becoming worth it. Though I must say this is nothing bad against the bar I used to work at more and industry thing generally.”

The 28-year-old continued: “Honestly I don’t think there is any job that deserves minimum wage, but for an industry that has always been low paid and overworked, with a lack of breaks, zero hour contracts, long hours, late nights and abusive customers it is truly an insult after the last two years to still be trying to pay the lowest possible wage you can.

“The industry itself ranks near the bottom in terms in pay but near the top in terms of mental health, stress related issues, suicide, and substance abuse.

“So to offer minimum wage, especially when they’re demanding experienced staff (staff they will drop in a heartbeat with no notice should there be another lockdown) it becomes straight exploitation.

“Especially as the minimum wage is rising to £9.50 in a couple months, they could have even pretended to not be exploitative and paid that amount earlier.

“Overall if you’re profit margin is based on paying the lowest possible exploitation wages then you’re either running an unsuccessful business or you’re just straight up taking advantage of people

“It’s worth nothing that they charge about £9 for a cocktail. That’s what they value an hour of their staffs work. 1 cocktail.”

he original version of this article was first published on Edinburgh Live

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