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Industry sees pay upturn

AN UPTURN in hospitality industry pay awards has emerged in recent months, with the average rise standing at 2.1% in April, compared with 1.6% in September last year.

The latest figures are revealed by research body Industrial Relations Services (IRS), in a report published last week analysing 35 pay reviews across the industry since September.

The highest increase was awarded at the 74-bedroom Whately Hall, a Forte Heritage hotel in Banbury in Oxfordshire, where staff were given a pay rise of 5.14% on basic rates from 1 February.

Another big rise was at European Air Catering Services, which operates two in-flight catering units at London’s Heathrow Airport. The 750 staff were awarded a rise of 4.1% from 1 December 1993, following a two-month pay standstill.

Pay thaws took place at several hotel chains, including the 23-strong Hilton National, where a 1.5% rise ended a 12-month freeze, and at Forte Hotels, where rises of at least 1.71% took effect after a 16-month freeze.

Strathclyde’s Catering Direct, the only direct service organisation to be reviewed, awarded its 1,500 staff a rise of 1.5% in line with the Government’s public sector pay policy.

These rises compared with 12-month pay freezes for staff at Britannia Hotels, Resort Hotels and the Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

Hardest hit were staff at Sutcliffe Catering’s contract at BP Chemicals in Hull, where a 15-month pay freeze was implemented, effective from 1 September last year.

IRS says more employers are introducing merit-based pay rises. It believes the Country Club Hotel Group’s 2% rise from 1 March is likely to be its last across-the-board increase, with the company expected to introduce an eight-point grading system this year.

The survey points out what it sees as the effect of the abolition of the Wages Councils last August, with Granada Services & Lodges establishing a new “starter” rate from 1 April which is 10% lower than its rate for trained staff.

lThe report appears in the latest issue of Pay and Benefits Bulletin, which is published fortnightly. Copiesare available by subscription at £145 a year from Industrial Relations Services on 071-354 5858.

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