Boutique hotel staff feel the pressures of Brexit as managers take measures for reassurance

KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24:  A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford Cheshire after today's historic referendum on June 24, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The results from the historic EU referendum has now been declared and the United Kingdom has voted to LEAVE the European Union.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 24: A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford Cheshire after today’s historic referendum on June 24, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The results from the historic EU referendum has now been declared and the United Kingdom has voted to LEAVE the European Union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Brexit bombshell sent shudders through in the industry, but we wanted to know how those working on the front line felt the impact. Have any of your workforce felt uneasy about the prospect of Brexit?

NO

Philip Warden, general manager, The Petersham Hotel

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After the initial shock of the referendum result and some very vocal concerns, it is interesting that now, from the approximately 300 employees of The Petersham and The Elvetham, 30% of which are from the EU, even with very open lines of communication and pastoral care for our workers, not one has shown any concern about Brexit and their future in the UK. Perhaps they trust in the system or have faith that common sense will prevail, even if the common market regrettably does not!

YES

Emily Hambi, co owner, The Windermere Hotel and Brasserie

Absolutely! Many panicked that they would be quickly deported from the UK. They were nervous about being unable to return if they left the country temporarily. We explained that a final decision on Brexit and the legal repercussions on the labour market would not happen instantly. We assured them that they were valued and welcomed. Nonetheless, the concerns continue as they worry for their future. They question how long they will be eligible to work and live in the UK. As we now seek to fill new positions, this feeling of uncertainty is evident within the pool of available candidates.

YES

Adam Rowledge, general manager, Georgian House Hotel

The morning after the referendum I was very quick to address immediate concerns by gathering the team and assuring each of them that although immigration was a key part of the vote leave campaign, we value them tremendously and we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure the security of their future employment. We have been forward in supporting the British Hospitality Association in lobbying and Serena von der Heyde, partner at Georgian House, has featured in international press to voice our views. Our colleagues from EU countries represent a vital part of our team; supply of labour is such that we would not be able to function as a business without them. Our guests really appreciate the quality of experience that our team offers and often international guests enjoy talking to members of staff in their mother tongue.

YES

Rafi Bejerano, director AB Hotels

Sadly many of our employees were uncertain of their futures in the UK following the referendum. This did create a few weeks of panic and questions and we felt obliged to release a statement to everyone trying to calm and reassure them. Unfortunately today we are still no better off with regards to any more understanding of the potential consequences of Brexit; but we’re not the only ones. For now I encourage everyone to forget about it and continue focusing on ensuring our guests have a fantastic experience with us.

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