Low-pay demonstrations at two London hotels

27 September 2013 by
Low-pay demonstrations at two London hotels

Two central London hotels have been the target of demonstrations by the Unite union over their failure to pay the London Living Wage (LLW) to some of their staff.

Members of the union's hospitality branch used the United Nations-designated World Tourism Day to highlight the number of hotel staff who are paid the national minimum wage of £6.19, which is set to rise by 12p on 1 October.

United said there are currently no employers within London hotels that pay employees the LLW rate of £8.55 an hour.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said the union had focused its protests on two hotels where it believed things should be different. The two hotels are the May Fair, whose owner Edwardian Group London operates a franchise agreement with Carlson, and the Holiday Inn Mayfair, managed by Intercontinental Hotels (IHG).

"Neither of these hotels pays its lowest paid workers the LLW," he explained.

"However, both Carlson and IHG are signatories to the United Nations global compact. Employers who are signatories to this compact have given an international commitment to standards of decency, including the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

"We call on these two hotels, and all London hotels, to pay the LLW, so that some of the lowest-paid workers in one of the world's most expensive cities share in the current tourism boom that the capital is enjoying."

While the LLW is not yet being paid in its hotels, IHG has made a commitment to becoming a LLW employer in all the London hotels it manages. However, a spokesperson for the company was unable to confirm when the improvement in pay would be introduced.

Stephen McCall, IHG chief operating officer for UK and Ireland, said the company remains committed to the UN global compact.

Meanwhile, Edwardian Group London, which owns the Radisson Edwardian May Fair hotel, said that it operates a pay-grade policy that remunerates individuals as they improve their skills.

"Our pay structure is in keeping with the wider hospitality industry in London," said an Edwardian Group London spokesperson. "The welfare of our staff is of primary concern to us, and we maintain open and ongoing dialogue, including holding monthly social hour forums at all hotels to address all aspects of employment, pay grades, structure and wage increase opportunities."

An unskilled worker joining Edwardian Group London will start on a rate of £7 per hour, including other discretionary payments, from 1 October. After passing the standard probationary period of 90 days, this will increase to £7.12 per hour.

Any staff considered capable of working unsupervised are then eligible for an additional pay rise to £7.38 per hour.

"All of our staff earn more than the national minimum wage, which has been set by the government as £6.31 per hour from 1 October, " the spokesperson added.

Union calls on capital's hospitality industry to introduce London Living Wage

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