The Maltese waitress: an endangered species

The Maltese waitress is an endangered species because we are a spoilt nation

These days it has become almost impossible to find a Maltese waitress. Go to any café, bar, or restaurant and the chances are that the waiters hail from one of the EU member states or even from non-EU states in Eastern Europe.

I was therefore hardly surprised when I read that during a conference hosted last Tuesday by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, Alfred Grixti, Chairman of the Employment and Training Corporation revealed that there were only 62 persons out of 7,500 registered unemployed who were willing to do the job of a waiter.

MHRA president Tony Zahra explained away this intriguing situation by saying that social benefits are making the unemployed 'lazy' and that people on benefits do not want to work. While this is partly true, I think the employment problems in the hospitality industry are more complex that Zahra's oversimplification suggests.

At the outset, I think it is correct to assume that a substantial number of those who go and register for employment have an agenda - ulterior motives that go beyond simply looking for a job. This agenda could be benefits, as Tony Zahra implies. It could also be an itch to be in the queue for employment with the government or with state entities. With a change in government there are many who might be thinking - very foolishly - that they now stand a better chance of getting a job of the messenger/watchman/security type with the state - the sort of job where they get a wage for doing nothing. They would also know that registering as unemployed is a 'sine qua non' for this kind of direct employment with the state. This could partly explain the rise in the number of registering unemployed and the ridiculous figure of just 62 persons among them who are willing to do the job of waiter.

It is obvious that those who are ready and willing to work as a waiter do not need to go to the ETC and register as unemployed in order to get a job. The Romanians, Latvians, Spanish, Italians and the host of other foreigners who work as waiters and waitresses all over Malta found their job in a more practical and direct way.

I think that much of the reluctance shown by people when offered the job of a waiter stems from the working hours of people in the hospitality and catering industry. This would also explain why Maltese girls are even more reluctant to take such jobs.

Our coddled girls want a nine-to-five job spanning over a five-day week as they want to go out in the evening and spend these evenings and their weekends with their friends. The working hours of salesmen and salesgirls in retail outlets are considered to be a deterrent for people to take up jobs in this sector. In the case of working in restaurants, cafés and hotels, the deterrent is even bigger.

So Marija and Censa from Malta refuse the waitress job which involves working at inconvenient hours and prefer to stay at home doing nothing while being supported by their families; whereas Marie from France and Vincenza from Italy are prepared to go to another country and work inconvenient hours to get a job.

Every time I go to a café or a restaurant and ask for something in Maltese and I get the message that the girl staring in front of me does not understand the language, I can only conclude that the Maltese waitress is an endangered species. Not because irresponsible shooters have been out at them as if they were booted eagles, but because irresponsible parents and stupid notions have made that kind of job anathema.

I have used the term 'irresponsible parents', fully knowing that many will probably react negatively to this generalisation. Yet I also know that when my son was a university student, he never found a problem to find work as a waiter in the summer months. This was some time ago: when the number of cafés and restaurants was less than it is today and the number of tourists holidaying in Malta and patronising these outlets was also much less than today.

His only advantage was that his parents did not think either that a job as a waiter was 'infra dig' or that working in inconvenient hours was a problem.

The Maltese waitress is an endangered species because we are a spoilt nation.

***

In the spotlight

The ham-fisted methods used by the Police in certain cases are irking a lot of people.

First, we heard about the curious circumstances in which the permit for a boxing event was withdrawn by the Police a few hours before the event was to take place.

This week, many have followed the incident in which Norman Vella - an immigration officer - was hounded by the Police following a vague allegation that he took photographs in an area where taking photos is not allowed for security reasons. Vella denied having done such a thing.

The Police also impounded Vella's tablet and mobile phone. As one of his lawyers pointed out, Vella has a pending court case against the Prime Minister and information relevant to this case, including communications between him and his lawyers, was stored in those gadgets; making this a possibly serious situation.

Since the change of government, there were other less serious incidents involving the Police Force, such as the time when members of the force doubled as waiters and the other time when they doubled as boatswains on a pleasure dinghy.

Some wit was heard saying that the present Minister responsible for the police, and the police themselves, are always in the spotlight because the Minister's Chief of Staff is an experienced expert in spotlights...

But this is a much more serious manner.

Some abuse of power by the police is always present in any country, under any administration. The appreciable increase in the dose that has been perceived since the change of government is a bad sign.

More so when this is an area where Labour has a lot of baggage from the past. In Maltese we have the untranslatable idiom 'dellhom tqil' - literally 'their shadow is heavy (i.e. overwhelming)'. This applies perfectly to Labour where police abuse is concerned.

I would have thought they would be more careful about this sort of thing.

Instead, they have disappointed many by recalling the ghosts of administrations past, ghosts that send the shivers down many a spine.

Not just many, but too many. Joseph Muscat simply cannot let this go unchecked.

Michael Falzon is Chairman of the Malta Developers Association and a former Nationalist infrastructure minister ([email protected])

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I feel offended by what Mr.Falzon and MR.Zahra said. Maybe they do not know about a maltese company that is bringing forign workers to Malta, giving them contracts with various hotels, wages and hours worked agreed between hotel and said company, so the maltese waitress only get shity part time work after the forign workers have had their agreed hours of work. Please do your homework before you write.
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I wonder how many daughters of chairmen/politicians have choosen to become waiters as a career path. I've worked 5 years as waiter and I can assure you. A)there's a big difference between a summer job and real work B)Those who do, should be pitied expecially with the salary/conditions being given at the moment.
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I wonder how many daughters of chairmen/politicians have choosen to become waiters as a career path. I've worked 5 years as waiter and I can assure you. A)there's a big difference between a summer job and real work B)Those who do, should be pitied expecially with the salary/conditions being given at the moment.
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Sorry to hear that the lack of Maltese waiters has irked you so much. The general populace, and not just locally might I add, are infuriated that upright politicians who should be serving the interests of the general public are long extinct.
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Sorry to hear that the lack of Maltese waiters has irked you so much. The general populace, and not just locally might I add, are infuriated that upright politicians who should be serving the interests of the general public are long extinct.
avatar
Sorry to hear that the lack of Maltese waiters has irked you so much. The general populace, and not just locally might I add, are infuriated that upright politicians who should be serving the interests of the general public are long extinct.
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Let me summarise. Maltese women are not interested in shitty jobs where they are paid peanuts and don't even have the benefits associated with a full-time employment and where they'll be kicked out as soon as the tourist season shrivels up.