Supermacs president Pat McDonagh confirmed that the group is now hiring workers from overseas due to a shortage of Irish applicants.
McDonagh said that in the past two months to the end of the year, Supermacs has hired more than 100 workers from EU countries from Italy, Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe who do not need work permits.
Mr. McDonagh stated that one of the reasons for the shortage of workers here is government payments for pandemic unemployment (PUP).
« I think the PPP has made people a bit lazy, » he said.
He said: « There are many reasons why the Irish are not interested in working at Supermacs and unfortunately there is a dearth of workers for every line of business at the moment with some companies able to open only two days a week due to a staff shortage. »
He said: « A lot of Irish people have moved away from the catering business – perhaps because of the uncertainty around it and perhaps because of unrelated hours.
« Also, people are realizing that the work-life balance needs to change because they feel like it’s been a rat race so far and they want to spend more time with the kids and family. »
He said that staffing at his company is currently his biggest challenge.
“We are in the process of recruiting from these countries because staff are not available in Ireland,” he said.
Supermacs is currently setting up a new motorway yard outside Tuam, and Mr McDonagh said: « It’s that simple. We’d have 70 per cent Irish staff on the Tuam site team, but if we didn’t have 30 per cent non-Irish national staff we wouldn’t be able to Open it without them. »
Mr. McDonagh stated that the Supermacs group has a full-time employee who is recruiting from abroad. Mr. McDonagh said that this was not the first time that the group had been actively recruiting from abroad noting that there was a similar recruitment drive from Malaysia in 2004.
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He said that the distribution of 100 workers recruited from abroad will be 55 workers in Supermax fast food restaurants and 45 workers in the group’s hotels.
Mr McDonagh said that across the Supermacs group, the breakdown of workers by nationality is 80 per cent Irish and 20 per cent foreign workers.
Mr. McDonagh said that Supermacs usually takes care of the accommodation needs of newly arrived workers for the first two weeks or month and then helps find more permanent accommodation for them.
He said, « It’s doing well – they’re happy and we’re happy. That’s it. »
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