A Tale of Two Cities – is a powerful graphically illustrated novel about the plight of bullied and exploited hotel workers – and how by organising together change can be brought about.
Unite commissioned the novel as a recruitment tool to reach out to a marginalised workforce – who often do not speak English and know very little of their workers’ rights.
The poor working conditions of British hotel workers are vividly brought to life in the novel, by artist and former chambermaid Barbara Pokryszka (pictured).
One illustration shows exhausted room attendants being shouted at to work faster, and told to ‘shut up and go back to work if you don’t want to lose your job’.
Barbara says that despite the harsh conditions staff are often too frightened to join the union and suffer in silence.
“I knew I had to do something to tell the story of what it was really like and I started to paint to express the suffering of workers and to press for change.”
Barbara dedicated a whole year to the graphic novel in the hope that it will inspire all workers to organise and fight back whatever industry they worked in.
“Unite is proud to publish this powerful illustrated graphic story,” said Dave Turnbull Unite regional officer.
“The poor working conditions of British hotel staff so movingly illustrated in this novel are all too common across the industry. Workers need to get organised, they need a trade union on their side to challenge these types of unfair work practices head on,” he added.
And now UNITElive is proud to present in a world exclusive, a Tale of Two Cities every day in serial form.
Today we begin with Episode 1 – ‘I need a job’.
Stay tuned to UNITElive and watch the story unfold.