Unite hotel workers and Citizens UK protested outside a Holiday Inn in London today (November 10), demanding that its parent company Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) keep its promises and pay the London Living Wage, now set at £10.20 an hour.
Unite’s Dave Turnbull, Hugh O’Shea, and Janet MacLeod spoke at the demo. They presented the hotel’s deputy manager with a flyer outlining Unite’s demands that the company live up to its pledge it made five years ago to pay a wage their workers can live on. The manager pledged to deliver the flyer to his superiors.
In 2012, IHG was publically praised for becoming the ‘first UK hotel chain’ to support the Living Wage after it agreed to phase in the pay rises over a five year period in each of its eight managed London hotels. But since then the hotel group has made no progress on phasing it in.
“We’re here today to remind Holiday Inn about their broken promises,” said Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull, speaking at the protest.
“Broken promise number one, five years ago, when the Olympics came to London, its owners InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) promised to pay the London living wage to all staff in their managed properties.
“Today the London Living Wage stands at £10.20 an hour, but nobody in this hotel or any of the others is earning anywhere near that,” he noted. “Staff expected that by now they’d be better off, but that promise was broken.
“In the same year that IHG promised to phase in the Living Wage, they also signed the United Nations Global Compact, which includes a pledge to support the rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Since then they have been involved, consistently in trade union avoidance.
“So they have not only broken the promise they made to their workers, and to London, they have broken the promise they made to the United Nations and the world essentially,” Turnbull added.
“But they have also broken the promise made directly and specifically to Unite to allow the union access to this Holiday Inn, here in Whitechapel.
“What we now know of this company is that it never keeps its promises and we have to be strong in keeping this message alive and telling them they can’t get away with it.”