Bitter balance: Corona has destroyed every fourth job in gastronomy

Bitter record
Corona has destroyed every fourth job in gastronomy

Assembled chairs and tables stand in front of a café in Munich. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

The hospitality industry was hit by Corona like no other industry. Every fourth job has disappeared, employees have migrated and there are no new trainees. A restart will be difficult.

In the German hospitality industry, almost every fourth job was lost during the corona pandemic.

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office on Friday, 23.4 percent fewer people worked in the industry in the first ten months of last year than in the same period of the pre-crisis year 2019. Since the number of trainees is also continuing to decrease, the food and beverages trade union (NGG ) and the association Dehoga an extremely difficult restart.

The employees of bars and pubs have been hit particularly hard: almost half (44.7 percent) of the workforce have had to leave here since 2019. Things went a little better for companies offering food, with a decline of 22.5 percent. The jobs were still safest with the caterers, who only had 17.1 percent fewer people than before the crisis. Short-time workers continued to be counted as employees.

The industry is demanding further state aid

Dehoga general manager Ingrid Hartges demanded further state aid for the upcoming third year under pandemic conditions. “Nine months of lockdown and not a month at pre-crisis levels since March 2020 have left deep scars. The renewed significant sales losses since November, which have again increased significantly in the new year, make it necessary to improve the aid, »she said on Friday. This is primarily aimed at social security contributions for short-time work, which companies want to continue to be fully reimbursed.

But the instrument of short-time work did not help a large group of employees in pubs and restaurants. According to statistics, at least 70,000 of the previous 450,000 mini-jobbers had to go in the first year of the pandemic, 2020, without short-time work or unemployment benefits. “These people ended up on the street without any protection,” says NGG boss Guido Zeitler. This proves again that mini-jobs do not offer any security. It is therefore completely in the wrong direction if the federal government now wants to raise the earnings limit to 520 euros.

Education has also suffered greatly

There is another reason why the trade unionist rejects the employment relationships that are widespread in kitchens and pubs: “Mini-jobs are also the door opener to undeclared work, because many people work significantly more and are then paid undeclaredly for it. When there are controls, it means that they are registered after all.”

2,000 vacant apprenticeships for cooks, 1,600 for hotel specialists and 1,500 for restaurant specialists: The figures from the 2021 labor market report of the Federal Employment Agency clearly show that training in the catering industry has also suffered during the pandemic. The statistical office also reports that in 2020 almost 20 percent fewer young people started a cooking apprenticeship than in the previous year. Training as a system caterer (minus 16.1 percent) or as a restaurant specialist (minus 21.9 percent) was also much less in demand.

The lack of trainees threatens to become tomorrow’s shortage of skilled workers. The NGG demands a training offensive and generally better working conditions with significantly higher salaries for skilled workers. She also wants to fight unpaid overtime and enforce more reliable working hours. This was successful during the pandemic in some tariff areas such as Berlin or Hesse, while other state associations continued to block.


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