Kevin's Blog

I accompanied an LHMU hotel organiser to a hotel where the union is close to securing a recognition agreement. I sat in the staff canteen and was able to talk to many of the workers and learn of their experiences. I spoke with housekeepers, porters, receptionists and food and beverage workers. This hotel used to be a Ritz Carlton 10 years ago and i was able to learn of the differences between then and now as it's owned by an international chain. Without exception each worker said that not only were the employment conditions worse but so was the service provided to guests. The hotel had 33 managers over 10 years. Yes that's right 33!
The hotel used to spend 125,000 Australian dollars a year on soap and shampoo and now ,without any adjustment for inflation the spend is down to 25,000! Everyone i asked said that if they had another job to go to they would leave immediately.I heard the usual stories of being treated with disrespect and feeling undervalued. The good news is that union membership is growing and once they have a majority the union will negotiate a new contract.It was good to see the rapport between the union organiser and the workers who understand that their future lies in their own hands and that means building the union. I hope to have some video messages on the website when i get back to London. I met with a worker from Uruquay who has got a message in Spanish for our South American members.It's a public holiday in Australia tomorrow and I start my journey home on Weds so the next you hear from me will be at the Branch meeting. See you there!