Restaurant chains breathe sigh of relief over PM’s worker pledge

Retail destination

The industry largest representative body for restaurant and pub chains has welcomed Theresa May’s pledge to offer EU citizens living in the UK ‘settled status’ once Brexit has been completed.

The Prime Minister yesterday set out her plans on employment rights for EU citizens in the context of Brexit negotiations.

The statement was positively received by the ALMR, as a “clear and unambiguous” signal that the package provides the stability and access to labour for which Britain’s eating and drinking out sector has been calling.

Chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “We share her sentiment of not turning our backs on our colleagues and those that ensure the smooth operation of the UK’s eating and drinking out sector. Our reliance on non-UK labour to augment the thousands of jobs already filled by Britons is key to the ability to operate and to grow a sector that adds £32 billion in GVA each year and has created one in seven of new jobs.

“Among the new detail, we welcome in particular, the assurances that registration for migrant employees will be streamlined, reducing the administrative burden for employers and simplifying the process for workers.”

Nicholls acknowledged that there is undoubtedly a long way to go before final details are agreed, but said that May’s comments send the right message to EU nationals that they are welcome to work in the UK and enjoy the advantages of the country in the same way as any other taxpayer.

“Today’s earlier agreement with the DUP, for a working agreement that includes Brexit, alongside this promising employment proposal, is a welcome demonstration that Government is back in its stride. That can only be good for Britain, society and business, providing the stability that is so crucial to our members’ budgetary and growth planning.”

Two-thirds of the ALMR’s members are small independent companies operating 50 outlets of fewer under their own branding, but its membership also includes some of the largest high street operators including JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers, Casual Dining Group, Carluccio’s, TGI Fridays, Wagamama and Harvester.

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