Church of England accused of ‘hypocrisy’ as it offers zero hours jobs at Cathedral Hotel

Church of England accused of ‘hypocrisy’ as it offers zero hour jobs at Cathedral Hotel… and pays just 9p an hour above living wage

  • The cathedral offers banquet and kiosk positions in its luxury hotel and conference pavilion
  • Applicants must ‘ensure that all customers receive high quality food and beverage service’
  • Zero hour messages are announced despite Justin Welby describing the gig economy and zero hour contracts as “the reincarnation of an ancient evil” in a 2018 speech

The Church of England has been accused of hypocrisy after Canterbury Cathedral announced zero-hours jobs at just 9p above the living wage.

The historic cathedral, known as the mother church of the Anglican Communion, offers banquet and kiosk positions in its luxury hotel and conference pavilion.

Candidates for Assistant General positions must ‘ensure that all guests of Canterbury Cathedral Lodge receive a high standard of catering service’.

The zero hour messages are announced despite Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, describing the gig economy and zero hour contracts as “the reincarnation of an ancient evil” during a speech in 2018.

Candidates must have “excellent customer service skills… restaurant/café/retail experience” and “understanding of the cathedral”, and the job description lists 26 duties, including “supplementing occasionally in the absence of the Catering and Conference Manager and Banquet Supervisors” and working “under the direction of the Executive Chef to perform general kitchen duties”.

The historic cathedral, known as the mother church of the Anglican Communion, offers banqueting and kiosk seating in its luxury hotel and conference pavilion

Potential candidates for £9 an hour jobs are also advised that their approach to ‘days and hours worked’ must be completely flexible.

The minimum wage for over-23s was £8.91 an hour and £6.56 for over-18s when the vacancies were announced last month.

The lodge, which offers hotel rooms up to £160 a night and hosts weddings, is located in the historic Cathedral Park.

The revelation comes as more than 200 church leaders, including Anglican bishops, have called on the government to tackle the cost of living crisis currently hitting families.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, church leaders – including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams – said: ‘We urge you to increase support for vulnerable households across the Kingdom The UK faces a cost of living crisis as a result of rising food and energy prices, through measures such as a one-off tax on oil and gas companies.

Zero hour messages are announced despite Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, describing the gig economy and zero hour contracts as

Zero hour messages are announced despite Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, describing the gig economy and zero hour contracts as ‘the reincarnation of an ancient evil’ during a speech in 2018

Local Labor MP Rosie Duffield said: “We are all aware that people are struggling at the moment and they [Canterbury Cathedral] could probably afford to be a little more generous.

“Everyone is struggling with their bills and cost of living, so it’s not great at all. These are good jobs, but people have to be able to afford the rising cost of living.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “We expect the Church to adopt a higher moral ground and to live up to its own expectations.” What comes to mind is the line from scripture: Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Given the Church’s criticism of zero hour contracts, it is clearly easier to be one in a thousand teachers than one in a thousand taught.

The Church of England came under fire in 2018 after it emerged that Gloucester Cathedral and Norwich Cathedral were also offering zero-hours contracts.

A cathedral spokesperson said the Church of England was unable to always offer full-time roles.

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Martha J. Finley