Stop demonising zero-hour contracts, Institute of Hospitality warns future government

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Stop demonising zero-hour contracts, Institute of Hospitality warns future government

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The Institute of Hospitality has called for an end to the ‘demonisation’ of zero-hour contracts in an open letter to the future government issued yesterday (5 May).

The professional body for managers and aspiring managers working and studying in the hospitality industry released a list of demands entitled ‘What Hospitality Wants’ based on recommendations made by industry leaders working in foodservice, hotels and academia.

Flexible workforce

The letter argued that zero-hour contracts were vital to the seasonal nature of the sector.

It said: “As an industry that experiences fluctuations in demand, we need to flex our workforces accordingly. Yes, exclusivity clauses should be outlawed, but it needs to be recognised that amongst a range of employment agreements used in our industry, zero-hour contracts have their place and suit certain employees.”


Concerns were raised that the drive to cut net migration could result in policies causing long term damage. The Institute called for a re-instatement of post-study work visas allowing non-EU students to work in the UK for up to two years.

A representative Tourism Council

The Institute called for the Tourism Council, which gives the industry a direct voice within government, to extend its representation to foodservice companies.

“The fact that a global giant such as Compass conducts its lobbying separately perpetuates the view that our industry does not have a common voice. Together, a wider definition of tourism will make our lobbying power stronger,” said the Institute.


While the Institute felt that a cut in tourism VAT was ‘not going to happen any time soon’, it called for an extension of the Annual Investment Allowance beyond 2015. The tax break has been increased to £500,000 until the end of this year, and is designed to encourage businesses to modernise and expand.

Tackling skills and youth unemployment

The Institute also backed the growing apprenticeship schemes in the sector

“The availability of new high-quality apprenticeships must continue to be effectively communicated, especially to SMEs, in order for employers to fully reap the benefits,” it said.

The open letter follows reports from industry leaders​ that lack of a clear election result could damage the hospitality sector.

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