Marketing Birmingham, a public/private partnership with Birmingham City Council, is to lead a pilot scheme to provide support (including Human Resources) for local vulnerable workers and their employers in the hospitality sector.
Funded by the DTI, the initiative is aimed at workers who are not getting their full employment rights, with a particular focus on hotel porters, kitchen and catering assistants, waiters, waitresses, bar staff, cooks and hotel cleaners.
The project will also provide training and support to businesses, particularly smaller firms, in being legally compliant.
A number of organisations including Acas, the Midlands TUC, Aston University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Central England, the Learning Skills Council, Citizens Advice Bureau, the Hotel and Catering Academy, and the Midland Association of Restaurants, have also agreed to support the project.
Jim Fitzpatrick, employment relations minister, said: “Too often people are not aware of their basic rights as a worker. The pilot will help to address this by providing better access to support and information.
“We want to ensure that lack of knowledge is not preventing workers from getting the basic employment rights that the government has given them, such as the minimum wage, paid holiday and the right to a safe working environment,” he said.
Tim Manson, operations and policy director at Marketing Birmingham said: “The project will enable the hospitality sector to become better respected.”
Specific activities will include:
- Setting up an HR hub to provide advice for businesses and workers.
- Working with schools to raise awareness of employment rights and career development opportunities in the hospitality industry.
- Offering small employers a business audit to identify strengths and weaknesses in their employment practices.
- Putting in place better links between the pilot partners and the workplace enforcement agencies so that there is more effective reporting of problems.