Hoping the AI revolution picks up speed so Gravina can just hire robots and spare us his whining

The Skinny | No 143 – Resto Recruitment Blues 

These guys don’t even accept to be paid for overtime!
These guys don’t even accept to be paid for overtime!

What are we skinning? Restaurateur Sean ‘Husband of Losco’ Gravina’s statement on how local restaurants are finding it difficult to recruit Maltese staff, allegedly due to the inherent toughness of the work itself and its anti-social hours.  

Why are we skinning it? Because it’s a textbook example of someone seemingly missing the wood for the trees, and going on the classic moralistic route of blaming the individual for what are essentially systemic failures. 

Moralistic route? Yes – it’s always easier to assume (and blurt out) how, “the system works just fine, it’s just that this lazy person isn’t all that interested in putting in the effort to make it work for THEM.”  

The low-hanging fruit of argumentation. Pretty much.  

But maybe Gravina has a point. If he does, it’s honestly down to some people realising the effort isn’t all that worthwhile to begin with.  

How do you mean? Well, if there are jobs that have anti-social hours… then maybe it’s nature of the work that has to change? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that human contact is important. 

But most people satisfy that very same urge for face-to-face encounters with friends and acquaintances at what are, in fact, catering establishments. So are you suggesting that bars and restaurants are – to use another COVID-popularised term – ‘essential services’?  

Essentially, I am. Very good then – let’s begin to treat them as such, and remunerate those who work at them adequately. 

But nurses and teachers perform essential services too, and they’re paid a pittance. Ah, right. Fair point.  

So this is really just another illustration of how the default capitalist model merely exists to shaft the hardest-working while continuing to reward those up top? Hey, we need those who glitter on pedestals to keep glittering as hard as they can so the rest of us can keep churning at the same wheel that powers the status quo.  

It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. And that some is the vast majority of us.  

 Do say: “While rising inflation and the fallout of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine will leave its impact on various industries, blaming workers because they seek to make a living in areas other than catering hardly seems like a productive way forward.”   

Don't say: “When is the AI revolution gonna pick up speed so Gravina can just hire robots and spare us his whining?”