By Veridiana Jordão

Hospitality has been one of the most affected sectors of the British economy during the pandemic, and workers are facing contract changes and financial instability during Covid-19.

Laura Canu, a general manager of a well-established Italian restaurant, who has worked in the UK for 35 years, used to have a fixed-time contract of 48 hours a week, which guaranteed her a fixed salary every month. However, her company has changed the written 48-hour agreement to a zero-hour contract.

“This will allow the company to cut hours massively, despite our agreed contractual number of working hours. Such development brings a considerable amount of instability in my life. As a result of the pandemic, we have been left without any option, but to agree and sign the zero-hour contract with our employer. I feel unprotected and insecure about my future,” says Laura.

Waiters and bartenders have also had their contracts changed from full-time to part-time. Stella Godo, 28, a bartender who works in one of the Italian restaurants in Soho, used to have a full-time contract which has now been changed to part-time due to reduced business.

“They have changed my contract because we have fewer customers now which means the company can legally give me a very small number of hours to work, making me unable to afford the basic living expenses,” she says.

Contract changes generally cause concern among workers, but a transformation from a full-time to a zero-hour contract may be viewed by some as a total disaster.

“At the moment, I can still afford my rent and bills, but I also need to make enough money for transport and food. I had no alternative but to apply for Universal Credit, so I am getting extra 200 pounds to help me pay my transport fares and buy groceries,” says Stella.

“Consequently, when my working hours reduce, it will not be sustainable for me to continue with my monthly mortgage payments and I might lose the house altogether,” Laura adds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *