Posh hotel under fire for treatment of its housekeeping staff

Posh people’s hotel the Waldorf in London’s theatreland gains no stars for how it is treating its housekeeping staff, says Unite, the country’s largest union.  The Hilton-owned Waldorf is the latest in the chain to outsource its housekeeping staff who contribute to the smooth running of the hotel – and enable it to charge up to £500-a-night for a room. To protest at this policy which disproportionately hits women and ethnic minority staff, members of Unite’s Central London Hotel Workers’ branch, which represents the housekeeping staff at the Waldorf, will be staging a demonstration outside the hotel in the Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DD from 6.00pm tomorrow (Wednesday 12 September). 

In a letter to the Hilton management to be sent tomorrow, Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland calls on the Hilton “to reverse this flawed outsourcing business model” and bring the housekeeping departments across the group back in-house. Unite is very critical of Jani-King, the controversial commercial franchise cleaning company, now operating at the Waldorf. Jani-King has a history of being taken to employment tribunals by its cleaning staff. 

Diana Holland said: “Based on our experience in general with agency and third party contractors in the hotel sector and in particular with our recent experiences with Jani-King at the Waldorf, our view is that this policy disproportionately impacts in a detrimental manner on the predominately female and ethnic minority workforce in these departments.” 

Diana Holland said that Unite is seeking urgent talks with the management to raise its serious concerns on this issue.

According to the Waldorf’s own website, it has gained the 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award – an award, which Unite says, would not have been possible without the hardworking housekeeping staff. 

Unite says that its Waldorf members now face the prospect of lower pay, but increased workloads; a culture of bullying; reduced terms and conditions; and a narrowing of career development opportunities. 

Diana Holland said that the Hilton management’s stance over the outsourcing policy breaches the spirit and intent of the Hilton’s own global and diversity charter.