National Waiter's Day founder Fred Sirieix has called on the Unite union to support hospitality workers, rather than attempt to hijack an event designed to celebrate careers in the industry.
Tomorrow (Thursday) hospitality businesses across the country will take part in events to celebrate careers in the industry, with the focal point being the National Waiter's Day race taking place in Hyde Park, London at 4pm.
Unite has planned a series of demonstrations about zero hours contracts and tip distribution to coincide with National Waiter's Day. It said it would lead protests outside Pizza Express's flagship Leicester Square restaurant and at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane.
Sirieix said: "We all want a world where everyone is better paid. At the same time you need to work hard for what you get. We're keen to promote the industry as an industry of the future. To try to hijack the day like that lacks creativity and understanding of what we're trying to do.
"They're wasting their time a little bit. I think they should be looking at ways to promote this industry and be more positive about job creation."
Now in its third year, National Waiter's Day aims to promote front of house jobs as worthwhile and rewarding careers, and change the perception of service roles in the UK.
"It's about making sure people outside the industry understand the industry and that those inside the industry take pride in their work."
Addressing the issue of zero hours, which is one of the subjects of Unite's protest, Sirieix said that there was a place for the contracts, as long as businesses act with honesty and integrity.
"You have to be honest and clear. It works both ways in terms of flexibility. We have a number of full time positions here we can't fill, never mind zero hours, and we pay well.
"In terms of service charge, that money is generated if you're doing well. The vast majority of brands are very transparent with how they handle gratuities.
"If they are interested they should combine their efforts to promote the industry and help get people into proper jobs. There are vacancies across the industry but for whatever reason people don't want to join. There are good opportunities in hospitality, and that's what we're looking to promote."
Unite was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
To get involved with National Waiter's Day visit www.nationalwaitersday.com -
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