The Experience of Ethnic Minority Workers Essay Example
The Experience of Ethnic Minority Workers Essay Example

The Experience of Ethnic Minority Workers Essay Example

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  • Pages: 18 (4745 words)
  • Published: September 5, 2017
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Working conditions in hotels and eating houses

Cash-in-hand undeclared or under-declared and illegal working was found among the cultural minority and migratory eating house workers interviewed and affected both employment conditions and rates of wage. This was prevalent in little cultural minority-owned eating houses normally using members of the same cultural group. The National Minimum Wage ( NMW ) was the rate normally paid to basic grade staff including saloon and restaurant staff hotel porters and housekeeping staff peculiarly outside of London.

The research besides found a high incidence of level rate payments per displacement or per hebdomad. regardless of hours worked. below the NMW. frequently paid cash-in-hand. Long hours working was a farther characteristic. Full-time workers did a lower limit 40-hour hebdomad. with 50 to 60 hours a hebdomad being common pe


culiarly in eating houses. Late dark working. or until the last client left was frequently expected without excess wage. Some felt that they had no life outside work due to the long hours demanded by the occupation. In some cases persons had several occupations to gain money to back up household or direct back place.

There was low consciousness of vacation and leave entitlements. Very few workers received more than the statutory entitlement to four weeks’ vacation. Some reported acquiring no paid vacations or having less than the legal lower limit and there was by and large low consciousness of holiday entitlement. In little eating houses there was sometimes an informal policy of two weeks’ leave. It was common for workers to hold received no written statements of specifics or contracts. This was found among both informally and lawfully employed workers and was a beginning o

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anxiousness for several. There were hapless perceptual experiences of occupation security in the sector.

Few workers felt secure in their employment frequently experiencing they could be sacked on the topographic point peculiarly those working informally. Some longer-term workers in regular employment were cognizant that increasing usage of insouciant and bureau staff meant that their occupations were non unafraid. Training available to migratory workers peculiarly in eating houses was minimum normally merely in basic wellness and safety hygiene or fire processs. In some hotels nevertheless directors had recognised the disregard of preparation in the past and were offering staff the opportunity to prosecute National Vocational Qualifications.

Problems at work

There was a high grade of credence of the hapless on the job conditions in the sector among interviewees with issues such as low wage long hours. unpaid overtime and hapless wellness and safety criterions frequently non perceived as peculiar “problems” but instead viewed as the nature of work in the sector. Where jobs were identified these related to: wage; long on the job hours; work load; acquiring clip off; strong-arming and verbal maltreatment including racial torment; jobs acquiring on with co-workers; English linguistic communication accomplishments; and larceny of belongings from work.

Bullying and verbal maltreatment was common peculiarly in kitchens where chefs were frequently known as toughs. but this was accepted by some as “just the outlook of the kitchen”. Sometimes the maltreatment had a racial component with “bloody foreigner” used as a term of maltreatment. Racist maltreatment from eating house clients was besides on a regular basis suffered by some servers. In one hotel several staff had experienced strong-arming from a director ensuing in clip off ill with emphasis.

Staff believed there was an subterranean motivation of seeking to acquire rid of long-serving employees and replacing them with cheaper insouciant staff.

Opportunities for publicity were felt by several interviewees to be inhibited by favoritism on evidences of race ethnicity nationality or age every bit good as the restrictions imposed by work license or visa regulations. Some long-run workers felt they had been overlooked for publicity with their age so intensifying the job as employers looked for younger staff to advance and develop. Where employees saw that they had chances to come on this was due to the support of a director.

Opportunities were farther limited by employer givens about the suitableness of staff for “front-of-house” occupations. such as response or server places. based on ethnicity gender and age. Some employers expressed penchants for white staff or a “balance” of white and colored front-of­ house staff. on the evidences that it was what their clients wanted. The research found that such racial stereotyping was expressed openly in this sector in a manner that may non be acceptable in other sectors.

In the chief interviewees did non raise wellness and safety concerns when discoursing jobs at work. reflecting an credence of the jeopardies of this type of work. However many issues did originate during the class of interviews which included: Burnss and working in hot kitchens; working in a confined infinite ; back and shoulder strivings; and tiredness from long on the job hours and heavy work load. Often duty for wellness and safety such as avoiding Burnss was seen as chiefly belonging to the employee and non the employer.

Most workers believed that small could be done to undertake

the jobs that they were holding at work. or felt that the lone solution was to go forth the occupation. A smattering of workers had taken action to decide their jobs at work. either by raising concerns with their director. or seeking outside support or advice. Support advice and consciousness of rights. Workers felt ill informed about employment rights in the UK and had small thought of where to acquire information if they needed it. Many besides were diffident about facets of their ain peculiar footings and conditions of employment which was related to a deficiency of written information.

As might be expected those who had been in the UK for a longer clip and the little figure who were members of a trade brotherhood felt better informed about their rights at work. Trade brotherhoods had been a valuable beginning of support for a little figure of interviewees but for most workers brotherhoods merely did non have in their experience of work. But despite the troubles of organizing in the sector including high staff turnover no civilization of trade unionism and employers that are hostile to merchandise brotherhoods. brotherhood rank was turning in one London hotel and providing subdivision.

This was the consequence of enlisting runs that included information in several linguistic communications. Some interviewees either had or would seek support from community administrations about jobs at work. However there was a fluctuation in the degree of community support available in the three parts with London and the West Midlands holding established administrations stand foring a assortment of cultural groups but such constructions were much less good developed in the South West.

Seeking support and advice through community

administrations can besides be a double-edged blade for those who work for employers within the same cultural community with some fearing that if they sought advice word would acquire around and they would hold jobs acquiring work in future. Of the little figure of workers who had sought support for jobs at work. Citizen’s Advice Acas and a specific undertaking for service workers ( no longer in being ) had been used.

While a little figure were cognizant of Citizen’s Advice. a twosome idea that the service excluded them because of its name which implied to them that it was for British citizens merely.

Conclusions and recommendations

While many of the on the job conditions and jobs highlighted in this study are common to workers in the sector. the research found several characteristics that serve to distinguish the experience of cultural minority and migratory workers: in-migration position ; working in the informal sector ; favoritism in the labor market and employment ; and low outlooks which increase tolerance of hapless on the job conditions.

For cultural minority and migratory workers the troubles in raising and deciding jobs relate both to their ain single exposure and features of work in the sector. Recent migratory workers may hold limited English linguistic communication accomplishments and small or no cognition of UK employment rights and support constructions. factors that compound the troubles of turn toing jobs in the sector.

These include: the perceptual experience that there is a ready supply of labor to replace workers who complain ; a deficiency of brotherhood administration ; a civilization of hapless forces pattern. such as minimum preparation and proviso of information ; and the informal nature of

much employment obtained by cultural minority and migratory workers in the sector. There appeared besides to be a deficiency of monitoring or enforcement of employers’ conformity with employment statute law in this sector.

To understand the different experiences and motives for cultural minority and migratory workers working in hotels and eating houses. the research developed a typology of schemes that high spots at one terminal how some persons feel they are moving strategically in relation to their work picks. whereas at the other economic factors and restrictions play a greater function in finding their picks. The schemes move from Career patterned advance through Broadening chances and Steping rock to Pragmatic credence and No option.

The research makes a figure of recommendations about how the place of this vulnerable group of workers can be improved through better entree to employment rights and information. betterments in working conditions and calling chances. and improved proviso of support and advice.


The undertaking used qualitative research methods to research the experiences and jobs at work of cultural minority and migratory workers in hotels and eating houses. with the purpose of both placing the scope of experiences and jobs encountered and deriving a greater apprehension of entree to and usage of support and advice to decide these jobs. The research therefore provides grounds of the conditions faced by cultural minority and migratory workers. which is an country comparatively neglected by research so far.

Its aim is to inform policy in order to better good pattern in relation to the employment of cultural minority and migratory workers to forestall jobs from originating. and to better the support and advice mechanisms available. The cardinal mark groups for

these research findings and policy aims are therefore employers. statutory organic structures. the voluntary sector. trade brotherhoods and community groups.

Background to the undertaking At the start of the undertaking a on the job paper ( Wright and Pollert. 2005 ) was prepared to set up the extent of cultural minority and migratory working in the hotel and eating house sector every bit good as nailing the chief issues for workers in the sector identified by the bing literature. The on the job paper is available on the undertaking website. The paper showed that cultural minority and migratory workers make up a important portion of the hotel and eating house work force – about threefifths ( 59 % ) of workers in the sector in London described themselves as other than.

White British in the 2001 nose count ( Wright and Pollert. 2005: 27 ). Outside of London the image reflects the differences in the concentration of the cultural minority population across the UK. In the West Midlands. where 84 % of the hotel and eating house work force were White British in 2001 the largest other groups were White other ( 2. 9 % ) Bangladeshi ( 2. 3 % ) and Indian ( 2. 2 % ). The sector is a peculiarly of import beginning of employment for some groups. with 52 % of male Bangladeshi workers employed in eating houses compared to merely 1 % of white males ( Holgate. 2004: 21 ).

In London migratory workers ( those born outside the UK ) history for 60 % of those employed in the hotel and eating house sector ( GLA. 2005: 68 ) compared to

31 % of all London workers who were born outside the UK. However there have been of import alterations in the composing of the hotel and eating house work force since the 2001 nose count with employers make fulling vacancies in the sector by using important Numberss of workers from the East European states that acceded to the EU in 2004 ( known as the A8 states ) .

The authorities requires subjects of the A8 states who wish to work in the UK to register with the Worker Registration Scheme ( WRS ) and Home Office figures show that of the 375. 000 workers registered between May 2004 and March 2006. 22 % were working in cordial reception and catering ( 80. 570 workers ). There has nevertheless been a diminution in the proportion of WRS appliers in Hospitality and Catering from 31 % in the 2nd one-fourth of 2004 to 18 % in the first one-fourth of 2006 with Administration Business and Management now using greater Numberss.

The highest proportion of all appliers under the strategy were Polish ( 61 % ) followed by Lithuanian ( 12 % ) and Slovak ( 10 % ). The figures besides show a motion of registered workers to other parts of the UK than London with the per centum using to London falling from 25 % in the 2nd one-fourth of 2004 to 11 % in the first one-fourth of 2006 ( Home Office. 2006a ).

While working conditions in the industry have been good documented as dwelling of low wage low position development of employees and deficiency of unionization ( e. g. Gabriel. 1988 ; Price. 1994 ;

Head and Lucas. 2004 ; LPC 2005 ) small has been written in the UK about the existent experiences of cultural minority and migratory workers with much of the bing literature concentrating on direction behavior and scheme ( Wright and Pollert. 2005 ) .

Some recent exclusions include a survey of low wage in London ( Evans et Al. 2005 ) which included the hotel and catering industry. This survey of 341 indiscriminately selected low paid workers contained 90 % who were migrators.

Of their sample of hotel and cordial reception workers. the largest group ( two-fifths ) were non-British Whites. chiefly from Eastern Europe. followed by Africans ( 24 % ). It found the lowest rates of wage to be in the hotel and catering sector below contract cleansing place attention and the nutrient industry. Other recent research has considered the experience of Central and East European migrators in low paid employment in the UK in the context of the A8 states fall ining the EU. and covers cordial reception. along with building. agribusiness and au braces ( Anderson et al. 2006 ).

It is some 15 old ages since the Commission for Racial Equality ( CRE ) undertook a formal probe into enlisting and choice in hotels ( CRE. 1991 ) in response to concern that the sector was neglecting to see equal chances in employment patterns. It found that cultural minority staff were disproportionately concentrated in unskilled occupations and found merely one cultural minority director out of 117 hotels investigated.

It made a figure of recommendations about how hotels should better their patterns in relation to recruitment monitoring positive action and preparation taking history of equal

chances issues. However we have been unable to happen grounds of any monitoring or rating of whether these recommendations have been heeded or implemented by hotel employers. While cognition of employment rights among all workers in the UK is hapless it has been shown that vulnerable groups know even less ( Pollert. 2005 ) .

A random study of people’s consciousness of employment rights in the West Midlands found that adult females cultural minorities. immature people and the low paid were least likely to be cognizant of their rights ( WMLPU. 2001 ) . The research was undertaken in the context of considerable public argument on migration policy and at a clip when the authorities was meaning to phase out low skilled migration strategies. such as the Sectors Based Scheme which granted work licenses to certain Numberss of workers in accomplishments shortage sectors such as cordial reception. in the visible radiation of new labors available from the European Union ( Home Office. 2005 ) .

At the same clip there is increasing concern for “vulnerable” workers and the authorities has late published a policy statement on protecting vulnerable workers defined as “someone working in an environment where the hazard of being denied employment rights is high and who does non hold the capacity or means to protect themselves from that abuse” ( DTI. 2006: 25 ) .

Research aims The research set out to turn to the undermentioned cardinal inquiries:

1. What are the on the job conditions of cultural minority and migratory workers in hotels and eating houses?

2. How are working conditions seen and what are perceived as ‘problems’ and how does this impact on credence of hapless

working conditions?

3. What type of jobs do cultural minority and migratory workers have working in hotels and eating houses?

4. How make these compare to the jobs by and large impacting workers in the sector and to what extent are they associated with peculiar labourmarket niches within the sector to which these workers are confined? If this is so. to what extent is the insecurity of migratory position relevant or is racial favoritism relevant?

5. How much do cultural minority and migratory workers in this sector know about their rights at work. and to what extent do cultural minority and migratory workers in this sector effort to implement their legal rights at work or alternatively seek to happen ways to accomplish a sufficient income and manageable on the job conditions even if this means conspiring with illegal employment patterns?

6. How much do cultural minority and migratory workers in this sector know about where to acquire advice and support for jobs at work? And who do they turn to for advice and support?

To what extent do cultural minority and migratory workers in this sector usage statutory ( i. e. Acas. CRE ) . voluntary ( CABx. local advice bureaus ) trade brotherhood. community ( groups or informal contacts through cultural webs ) or informal ( friends. household ) beginnings of support and advice?

7. What are the experiences of cultural minority and migratory workers in this sector of utilizing all these beginnings of support and advice and what barriers do they face in accessing support and advice for workplace jobs?

Structure of the study

The study describes the research methodological analysis and entree paths. together with the features of the interviewees

in subdivision. The on the job conditions experienced by interviewees are described in subdivision. Сorroborating grounds from much of the bing literature on the sector but besides foregrounding where the experience of cultural minority and migratory workers may be peculiar. Section 4 describes the jobs encountered by interviewees in their occupations in hotels and eating houses. but besides considers the attitude of these workers to specifying “problems” at work. every bit good as their attacks to deciding jobs and barriers to declaration.

The information. support and advice available to and used by the cultural minority and migratory workers interviewed is explored in subdivision. Together with their consciousness of employment rights in the UK.

In subdivision 6 decisions are drawn about the specific experiences of cultural minority and migratory workers in the sector. the jobs that they face and their demand for support and advice. proposing that alterations need to be made to pattern within the sector every bit good as in improved proviso of support to cultural minority and migratory workers.


The undertaking employed qualitative research methods to garner in-depth histories of the experiences of 50 cultural minority and migratory workers. Interviews were carried out between May 2005 and May 2006. In add-on interviews and face-to­ face and telephone conversations were held with cardinal sources to supply contextual information on characteristics and tendencies within the sector impacting cultural minority and migratory workers.

The strengths of utilizing qualitative methods are that they can non merely place touchable issues ( the jobs themselves. for illustration ) . but besides more elusive. subjective issues. such as motive perceptual experiences of chances and of rights sense of inclusion. integrating and equity – or

their antonyms – sense of defeat disaffection and barriers to obtaining support and equity at work.

Regional range

The research undertaking was confined to England within the footings of mention set by the European Social Fund.

Three English parts were selected in order to supply a comparing of experiences of migrator and cultural minority workers: London the West Midlands and the South West London and the West Midlands have well larger colored and migratory populations than other parts of the state. with important Numberss of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis working in the hotel and eating house sector in the West Midlands ( Wright and Pollert. 2005: 27­ 28 ). In contrast the South West is the English part with the smallest colored population. but is sing a growing in migratory workers.

The jobs confronting cultural minority and migratory populations here have been less good documented but where surveies have been done. isolation from cultural minority communities and support constructions emerges as an issue ( BMG Research. 2003 ; Gaine and Lamley. 2003 ; SWTUC. 2004 ). Tourism besides accounts for 10 % of entire employment in the South West with the greatest proportion of these ( 70 % ) employed in the cordial reception sector – adjustment. eating houses. saloons etc. ( Tourism Skills Network South West. 2002 ). In the South West it was decided to concentrate the research on two towns with a big tourer population and hence a high demand for a hotel and restaurant work force: Bournemouth and Plymouth. The Human Resources director of a Bournemouth hotel group interviewed for this research. said that merely 32 % of their work force was British. bespeaking a high

trust on nonnative workers.

Definitions of cultural minority and migratory workers

The research includes both “ethnic minority” and “migrant” workers classs which in existent life are complex altering and overlapping. Some cultural minorities ( utilizing the Labour Force Survey definitions ) will besides be migrators. Migrants ( defined here as all those who were born outside the UK. Home Office. 2002 ) may or may non be defined as cultural minorities and may or may non be discriminated against. White Australian or Canadian migratory workers for illustration would non be.

But Kosovan people may be regarded as cultural minorities and endure racism and favoritism and Czech or Polish people may or may non be discriminated against and while they may non be “visible” in footings of tegument coloring material. in the manner black and Asiatic people are they are “visible” in footings of linguistic communication cultural features and favoritism. As many “white” Eastern Europeans are now 9 working in the hotel and eating house sector peculiarly since the EU expansion in May 2004 it was felt to be of import to include their experiences in the survey.

Access to research participants

In order to include the experience of a wide scope of interviewees from different cultural groups and backgrounds. including both recent and more settled cultural minorities it was decided to utilize multiple paths to entree interviewees. Therefore a scope of organic structures were contacted. many with a double intent of: a ) supplying contextual information about the sector and/or the experiences of peculiar cultural groups ; and B ) assisting derive entree to research participants.

Administrations contacted included trade brotherhoods community and worker administrations sector organic structures employers and statutory

and advice bureaus ( see Appendix 2 ). In the South West. where there are fewer organised community groups than in the two other parts. we spoke to officers at Bournemouth Borough Council who gave us informal contacts within the chief local cultural minority communities every bit good as seting us in contact with several community translators who spoke the chief linguistic communications of the local cultural minority groups: Portuguese, Korean, Turkish, Bengali and Spanish.

These paths proved really utile in assisting to entree research participants and in supplying reading for interviews. However in the terminal Turkish and Bangladeshi workers were loath to come forward to be interviewed which the translators said was because they were fearful of talking out about their employers despite reassurances of confidentiality. In all three countries we used fieldworkers who were able to utilize their linguistic communication accomplishments to transport out interviews in workers’ native linguistic communications viz Bengali, Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian and Mandarin.

The fieldworkers were besides able to supply entree to workers who may non hold come frontward otherwise being people who were known and trusted among their ain cultural communities or who were able to supply sufficient reassurance of confidentiality. Training was provided in utilizing the interview usher to all fieldworkers to guarantee a common attack was used in interviews and that fieldworkers understood the purposes and aims of the research.

While the attack used provided entree to workers in a broad scope of constitutions from big hotel groups to little independent eating houses including several working ‘illegally’ or ‘informally’ we acknowledge that utilizing such paths could non entree the most hard-to-reach illegal migrator and cultural minority workers. who may

represent a considerable proportion of workers in the sector. The research may non to the full represent the worst conditions found in the ‘underbelly’ of the sector as suffered by many ‘illegal’ or ‘undocumented’ migrators as portrayed for illustration in Steven Frear’s 2002 movie about a London hotel. Dirty Pretty Things.

It was decided non merely to seek out interviewees who perceived themselves as holding had a “problem” at work but a scope of people in different occupations in the sector in order to research their typical work experiences and their attitudes towards “problems” and conditions in the sector.

Cardinal sources

In add-on to the worker interviews. at least 20 cardinal sources ( see Appendix 2 ) provided farther context on the hotel and eating house sector. including regional cognition.

These included employers and employer representative organic structures trade brotherhood functionaries and branch members. community administrations representatives of sector organic structures and statutory and voluntary administrations. In some instances in-depth interviews were carried out and in others more informal conversations were held either face-to-face or on the telephone.

Worker interviews

A sum of 50 in-depth qualitative interviews were carried out in the three parts with a greater figure in London due to the immense scope of cultural minority and migratory workers in the sector in the capital.

At the start of the interview. participants were asked to finish a two-page questionnaire giving basic demographic and employment inside informations. informations from which is provided in the undermentioned subdivision.

Age Merely one interviewee was under 21 old ages old. Almost two-fifths ( 38 % ) were aged 21 to 30 old ages old and the same proportion were between 31 and 40 old ages old.

Six interviewees ( 12 % ) were aged 41 to 50. and five ( 10 % ) were between 51 to 60. None of the interviewees were aged over 60.


Overall the sample was reasonably extremely educated. with 36 % holding a first phase or higher grade. Another 10 % had post-secondary non-tertiary degree instruction and 36 % had received instruction up to secondary degree while 12 % had received. A farther 6 % had other makings or the inside informations of their instruction were non known.


The bulk ( 62 % ) of the interviewees worked in eating houses. while 30 % worked in hotels. The staying 8 % either worked in both hotels and eating houses. as bureau workers. or in catering services. More than half of respondents ( 54 % ) said there were 10 or fewer employees where they worked.

A farther 22 % said there were between 11 and 25 people where they worked. Merely 6 % worked for employers with between 26 to 49 people and 10 % said there were 50 or more employees where they worked. However these figures should be treated with cautiousness and may undervalue the figure working for larger employers as respondents may hold interpreted the inquiries as mentioning to the workplace or section of the hotel where they worked instead than the employer as a whole. Almost half the interviewees ( 48 % ) worked as servers or waitresses. either in hotels or eating houses.

Another 20 % were chefs or cooks and a farther 4 % worked in kitchens as general helpers 12 % said they were supervisors or directors and 4 % described themselves as

tellers. Another 10 % worked in other occupations in hotels as receptionist general helper or porter/bar worker. The bulk of workers were full-time ( 70 % ) while 14 % said they worked parttime and 14 % were insouciant workers. Working hours were long. The largest proportion ( 40 % ) worked over 40 hours per hebdomad – 10 % worked between 41 and 48 hours while about a 3rd ( 30 % ) said they worked over 48 hours a hebdomad.

Merely over a 3rd ( 36 % ) worked between 21 and 40 hours a hebdomad. Merely 6 % did less than 20 hours a hebdomad. The bulk ( 82 % ) had merely one occupation at the clip of the interview with 18 % holding two or more occupations. However some of those presently working in merely one occupation talked of old times in the sector when they had more than one occupation.

Union rank

Merely five were members of a trade brotherhood ( either the GMB or the T & A ; G )  or 10 % of the interviewees although this is still a higher proportion than in the sector as a whole where merely 5 % of workers are nonionized ( Wright and Pollert. 2005: 25 ) .

Data analysis

All worker interviews were tape recorded and transcribed ( or detailed notes were made where the quality of the recording did non let for full written text ) with the participants’ consent and field-notes were made shortly after the interviews. This information was analysed with the aid of QSR N6 informations analysis package in order to help a consistent and strict attack to the

informations being analysed. A thematic index was developed to categorize the transcripts harmonizing to major subjects and transcripts were coded consequently utilizing the N6 package.

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