Hospitality, tourism & food service workers wanted in Rhodes and Greece in general

The businessmen of the island of Rhodes are preparing for the start of the tourist season, which they hope will be better than last year (which was the best in the history of Rhodian tourism).
The businessmen of the island of Rhodes are preparing for the start of the tourist season, which they hope will be better than last year (which was the best in the history of Rhodian tourism).

According to what has been announced, the first charter flights will start on March 11th, 2023, and based on the messages arriving from the tourist markets, the season is expected to be particularly dynamic with corresponding benefits for the local economy.

The biggest problem that exists and for which efforts are being made to solve it is the lack of employees.

"It is estimated that there is a staff shortage in hotel units and tourism businesses of between 3,500 and 5,000 workers," the president of the Labor Center of Rhodes Panagiotis Englesos said, who pointed out that efforts are being made to find staff mainly from Northern Greece.

Already the Labor Center in collaboration with the Union of Hoteliers of Rhodes and with the assistance of Labor Centers of Northern Greece are organizing information days.

Referring to the issue, the president of the center, Panagiotis Englesos said: "In the next period, the applications for re-employment by the hotel employees will be completed.

The picture we have is that the majority of colleagues have applied for re-employment. This means that we will again have a problem with the staffing of hotels and seasonal businesses.

Several thousands came every year to our island and especially to southern Rhodes to work in the hotels.

Their number had at some point reached about 4,000. This was also the reason why there was a big shortage after the pandemic in our hotels.

Due to the pandemic, these people did not come, they were afraid or changed their profession and turned elsewhere to have income.

I believe that we will have good results and we will manage to convince our colleagues to come to Rhodes again so that the request submitted by the Hoteliers' Union, but also by other entrepreneurs in our region, to bring thousands of workers from third-world countries does not go ahead and to be employed in the businesses of Rhodes."

The Rhodes Hotel Association participates in the seminars with the slogan, "Work in one of the top tourist destinations in the world with the longest season" and its representatives will inform those who attend about the demand for staff of all specialties from our hotels in Rhodes emphasizing that:

- The local collective labor agreement with the highest wages in the country will be applied and

- Accommodation and food will be provided to the workers.

Moreover, the country in general asking for labor to be imported from abroad for tourism and food service employement.

Specifically, hospitality employers are asking for the importing of at least 80,000 workers from third-world countries, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Balkans, with the aim of filling vacant positions.

According to data from the tourism and food service industries, last season vacancies reached 60,000, with Greece now proceeding with interstate agreements, such as that recently voted on by the Parliament with Egypt, for foreign citizens to come to Greece for the purpose of employment in the agricultural sector.

In total, it is estimated that more than 100,000 workers from other countries could come to Greece and fill job vacancies at hotels, in specific positions at food service companies (in the kitchens), in reception areas, as waiters, as well as vacancies in positions such as outdoor laborers.

With the domestic economy having overcome the pandemic, the number of Greek companies looking for workers is increasing, but they are facing great difficulty in finding the right staff. These are businesses that operate primarily in hospitality, retail, IT or the agricultural sector. In fact, according to analysts, this is neither a new nor a uniquely Greek phenomenon.

Therefore employers are asking the Hellenic Labor Ministry for approval to bring workers to Greece for the summer. Workers’ representatives have protested strongly, arguing that 80,000 foreign workers would alter the labor landscape in terms of both labor rights and wages. The Supreme Labor Council (ASE) declared itself noncompetent to issue an opinion on the matter.

It should be noted that at hotels alone, the shortage of workers in 2021 exceeded 53,000, and reached 60,000 in 2022.

A pilot agreement with the government of Egypt, so that Greek employers (mainly in the agricultural sector) can bring farm laborers from Egypt each year to cover their needs in the primary sector, was recently sanctioned by Parliament. During the first year of the agreement’s implementation, the number of Egyptian workers could reach up to 5,000.