'Value jobs in the post-Brexit world'

Readers' letters | Published:

I never thought I would say this, but I find myself agreeing with Roger Watts! I am as ardent a leaver as he is remainer, so this is somewhat surprising.

Serving up Brexit

But his admission that free movement is a problem and assertion that it would be better to pay UK workers a little more and have the money spent here rather than being sent abroad (March 27) has been borne out by recent experience.

I have just returned from a visit to London, where I lunched at the Ritz, dined at Langan’s Brasserie and stayed in a Mayfair hotel. I say this not to brag, but to make a point.

The vast majority of the people we were served by during this trip displayed some sort of foreign accent and, reminded of Roger’s letter, I found myself questioning that there were not UK natives who would be happy to work in such prestigious establishments.

It is not just about pay. For too long in this country we have equated ‘service’ with ‘servile’ and ‘manual’ with ‘menial’, so that those working serving others in hospitality, or working with their hands in industry or agriculture, have been looked down upon rather than given appreciation for the contribution they make to our economy and way of life. In large parts of Europe, and elsewhere in the world, this type of work is more highly regarded as leading to worthwhile careers and status. It cannot be coincidence that service levels and productivity are often higher.

It is time, therefore, for a fundamental reappraisal of the value and status of these tasks so that, as we set sail into our brave new world, they become more attractive to home-grown talent and enterprise and, who knows, maybe even Roger Watts will come along more happily with us.

Mike Smith



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