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1.1 THE BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN THE HOTEL AND CATERING INDUSTRY. (A CASE STUDY OF ROYAL PALACE HOTEL ENUGU)
Since the beginning of recorded time, people have travelled, and during their travels, have needed shelter. This consequently encouraged the springing up of some accommodation in form of inns and small hotels and subsequent larger hospitality suites, to meet such needs. This thus hospitality is said to be the worlds‟ second oldest profession.
Just after the civil war in 1970, there was a virtual absence of hotels and especially, the well known names in the international hotel industry in Nigeria. Not until the late 70‟s, during the oil boom era, did Nigeria start experiencing some growth in her hotel industry. In recent years however, Nigeriahosting of several major international events like the common wealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM), All African games, carnivals, meeting including the visits of two American presidents an other presidents with their entourage, has led to the building of several more hotels in Nigeria, especially in the major cities.
This growth is not restricted to Nigeria alone, example, the American food service industry in 1979 had 110 billion dollars of busing for meals away from home and was infact the third largest industry in the country in terms of gross retail sales, it employs
about 6 million people and had average of 125. 42 employees in 1995 and yet still needs many additional employees every year.
Nigeria has since seen many important developments and changes in the relative improvement in the standard of living of a vast majority of working people. These improvements have come about as a result of many different factors including greater national productivity, stronger growth of economy, having more enlightened management and pressures from trade unions.
The contributions made by the hotel and catering industry to this general rise in standard of living are considerable, providing essential and leisure services, employment and wealth creation.
Hotel development in any country is a detailed process, requiring a high level of pre- planning prior to, during and after construction. There is still evidence in many places in Nigeria that this pre-planning has not adequately been carried out, resulting in some hotels that are unable to meet today‟s and tomorrows ever-changing and increasing customer needs, including the fact that demand far outstrips supply, with major cities like Lagos having now shortages. Nevertheless, Tourism, of which the hotel and catering industry is a principal element is said to be a potential growth sector in Nigeria.
The conditions of employment of a large number of the industry‟s staff have not kept peace with those enjoyed by working people elsewhere, in spite of the technical
improvements within the catering industry itself. The reasons for the slow rate of improvement in the industry‟s condition of employment are considerable including an understandable reluctance on the part of many proprietors and managers to adjust labor earnings according to improvements in the industry. Another reason could be that trade union movements exert little influence in most sectors of the industry, since moreover most people that make up the industry‟s workforce are people who are not prepared to make a career out of the job.
The working conditions of the industry‟s staff are for most cases unattractive. There are intrinsic problems which are unavoidable such as having to work long evenings and weekends. Other problems however can certainly be removed or reduced by determined management action. Such problems are staff reliance on tips, ignorance of workers on methods of calculating pay and the distribution of service charges, and management‟s reluctance to involve staff in matters that affect their working lives. Management should therefore evolve a way of bringing out the best in these groups of ignored members of our workforce.
In Nigeria, there are many organizations that provide catering services and which by their nature can be termed hotels. It is estimated that there exists about 550 hotels, inns and commercial guest houses in Nigeria by the year 2008 that employs between 10 and 250 people in line with their sizes. It is said that about 418 – 900 people were employed in 2003 worldwide.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In an industry in Africa where there seems to have been a continued growth over the years, expertise is therefore expected to be limited and this constitutes a problem.
There and other problems are what the study wishes to consider and make recommendation where necessary. The problem reduction in experienced hands in this industry in the third world, seem to be the case due to managers reluctance to train its workers and employ able hands.
Another problem lies in the fact that most workers in the industry have no clear cut channels to register their protests and grievances since management usually stifles unionization agitation.
The third problem concerns the issue of how the basic payment and benefits of workers is commensurate with their dedication to work and efforts. As employers are less responsive to changes in the economy with respect to adjustments of pay and benefit packages in line with economic growth as being experienced in most developing countries today, including Nigeria, they are left with employees whose dedication to work decreases; with huge reduction in their morals and motivation to work.
We are also confronted with an environment where employees are usually kept in the dark without being enlightened on things they have the right to know. Example, payment
determination method, criteria for promotion (etc), but rather such issues are based on the whims of management. This constitutes a problem.
The last problem is the general belief by most people that jobs in the industry is one of last resort which they can take up when they do not find a “better” job to do. This thus discourages young people who may wish to have a career in the hotel and catering industry.
Having identified some of the problems, this study intends to find possible solutions to some of them.
1.3 THE OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN THE HOTEL AND CATERING INDUSTRY. (A CASE STUDY OF ROYAL PALACE HOTEL ENUGU)
To this end, this study aims at assessing the reasonability of all the entitlements due or payable to that part of the labor force that works fully or partly in the hotel and catering industry. The objectives of this study are thus.
v To examine the reasonability of other entitlements and benefits that is not part of the basic payment.
v To assess the degree to which payment is commensurate with the efforts of employees in this industry.
v To evaluate the extent to which payment and benefits in this industry are similar to those of like-industries.
v To examine the industrial relations existing in the hotel under study and its impact on worker‟s welfare.
v To identify the impact of inappropriate payment and employee benefit schemes or their absence altogether, on employee performance.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be raised:
To what extent do the workers in the hotel and catering industry satisfied and motivated by their payment? To what extent do the working condition obtainable in this industry quite satisfactory relative to workers effort? To what degree is management involved in the training and development of its workers? To what extent does management agree to the formation of unions?
To what extent is management responsive to changes in the economy with reference to the adjustment of payment and benefit packages in line with economic indicators?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS