On December 16th a delegation of workers from the Holiday Inn in Clichy, France, travelled to London to participate in a Europe-wide action against subcontracting in the hotel industry and against payment per-room.
Since October 19th, chambermaids, housekeepers, kitchen porters and other staff have been on strike, demanding direct employment by Holiday Inn rather than by subcontractors. They are also demanding to be paid by the hour as opposed to by the room. These actions are supported by their unions CNT-SO and CGT-HPE.
The Holiday Inn in Clichy is owned by InterContinental Hotels Group, a British multinational headquartered just outside London. It is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, managing 5,174 hotels in nearly 100 countries. As well as Holiday Inn, its brands include Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express and InterContinental. While Intercontinental Hotel Group makes over $400 million a year in profit, the company cuts corners by subcontracting workers and refusing to provide hourly wages.
The delegation arrived from France in the early hours of a very cold morning and assembled outside the InterContinental Hotel in central London, where they engaged in a lively four-hour demonstration. Chanting to the rhythm of their portable music equipment, they distributed leaflets to passers-by denouncing the company’s abhorrent practices and then marched along Piccadilly waving flags and placards.
Left Voice interviewed Claude Levy, a CGT-HPE representative who has been accompanying the workers on their tour. He explained that the delegation is on a months long tour to fight for workers rights. In Barcelona the delegation met the chambermaids’ union Las Kellys and the next stop on their tour is Brussels in January. Afterwards, they will head to Hanover, and end with a final march in Paris on May Day.