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UNITE The Union says London Hotels 'unfit for Olympics'

Posted to the IUF website 15-Apr-2009

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Report identifies living wage as key to ending ‘Dickensian’ treatment of
hotel workers

Central London hotels are addicted to low wages and migrant labour and
offer poor value for money, according to a joint report to be launched in
Parliament tomorrow by Unite the Union and London Citizens, the capital’s
largest civic alliance.

Rooms for Change: putting London hotels on track for the Olympics argues
that key to making the city’s hotels fit for 2012 is adopting the
London-weighted minimum wage endorsed by the mayor, Boris Johnson, currently
set at £7.45.

London’s hotels are not, at present, fit for 2012, claims the report, which
draws on interviews with hotel workers, clients, cleaning agencies and hotel
managers in London and abroad.

“The heart of the problem is the treatment of workers and the management’s
reliance on a transitory, migrant labour force that is hired and fired and
will,” says report. “’Dickensian’ is not too strong a word to describe the
conditions that prevail in some of London’s leading hotels.”

Since LONDON CITIZENS began campaigning for the London Living Wage (LLW) in
2001, it has been adopted by dozens of institutions and companies.




HSBC, Barclays, KPMG, the Tate Gallery, the Department of families, Schools
and Children, Westfield shopping centre, and Tower Hamlets council are among
those who have been persuaded by LONDON CITIZENS to adopt the LLW.
Independent researchers at Queen Mary College calculate that since 2005 £32m
has been put into the pockets of the low-paid as a result of the LONDON
CITIZENS campaign. Although the Hilton chain has held meetings with WEST
LONDON CITIZENS and Unite the Union regularly since 2007, no hotel has yet
adopted the LLW. The ‘Rooms for Change’ campaign argues that adopting the
LLW and investing in training will transform conditions in London’s hotels,
enabling them to compete on service rather than low-wage transitory labour.
In addition to the LLW, it says unions should be allowed to meet employees,
and hotels should invest in training and support English classes for their
workers.

Rooms for Change also calls for an agreement to be signed by hotels which
sets out minimum terms and conditions for all workers.

The guests will be asked to support the campaign and raise the issue of
hotel workers’ pay with management.

THE ‘ROOMS FOR IMPROVEMENT’ CHARTER 2009

1. London Living Wage to be adopted by London’s hotels as the minimum income
standard for all employees.

2. Unions to be given unimpeded access to meet, talk and make presentations
to all hotel employees.

3. Hotels should make training and advancement opportunities available to
staff at all levels.

4. Hotels to support and facilitate attempts by their workers to improve
their English.

5. A Central London Hotels Agreement (CLHA), to be signed by all hotels,
which provides minimumterms and conditions for all workers, including the
Living Wage and ballots for trade union recognition.

To see the full report go to:
http://www.londoncitizens.org.uk/pages/pdfs/81287_HotelStrategy%20Web.pdf