Kevin Curran's blog

Kevin's Blog

It's very appropriate that I'm finishing my visits here in New York. Those of you have been here will know that New York is jam packed full of hotels, however unlike any other city I know of 85% of all these hotels are organised. The New York Hotel Trades Council has 30,000 members and they are one of the best organised and focused union organisations I've ever come across.

Kevin's Blog

Now and then we hear complaints from some of our members that it is too difficult to organise in the hotel sector in London. Every now and then we should remind them that in comparison to some of our Sisters and Brothers in other countries we have it easy. I visited a hotel today which is at the centre of an organising battle being fought by FSPM, our sister union, in Indonesia. The management not only introduced a union busting strategy but brought trumped up criminal charges against some of our activists which resulted them being sentenced to 4 months in jail.

Kevin's Blog

Last night I went to a very special cafe in Bandung. The cafe is called BJ’s but it is better known to its patrons as the ”Solidarity Cafe” and the story behind it should be an inspiration to us all.
16 months ago the workers at the Hotel Aquila joined the FSPM and demanded to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement to improve terms and conditions.
The hotel responded by sacking all the 136 union members.

Kevin's Blog

The stories I keep hearing from workers here in Indonesia are very familiar to me. I've met 6 union chairmen (a union chairman fulfills the same role as a shop steward) and they told me about their struggles to build the union in their hotels. At one 5 star the chairman got sacked and the union mounted noisy demonstrations outside the hotel and forced the international management to meet with them which resulted in reinstatement and a negotiated collective bargaining agreement. As always in struggle there are defeats as well as victories.

Kevin's Blog

I've been in Jakarta for two very busy days now. I was met by Hema from the IUF and members of the Executive of our Sister Union the FSPM including the General Secretary, Benny Nasution.

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