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France, Uncategorized

Paris chambermaids’ strike victory inspires sisters in other luxury hotels

Outsourced hotel chambermaids at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme are celebrating a significant wage increase, and inspiring their colleagues in other luxury hotels.

The agreement follows a four-day strike for better wages and working conditions that begun on September 19.

The agreement covers 80 chambermaids, porters and maintenance staff and brings monthly wage increases from 380 to 420 euros.

“It is the best deal that I signed in fifteen years of trade unionism,” says Claude Lévy, CGT, one of the main organizers of the strike that started September 19.

The deal includes increasing the hourly rate of the workers by 2 euros, a boost to employer funding of health insurance and moving all part-time workers into full-time positions by the end of 2015,  L’Humanite newspaper reported.

The strikers also won payment for strike days as part of the agreement.

The victory of employees of the Hyatt Vendome – which charges up to 16,000 euros a night for rooms, more than the workers’ annual income – reportedly brings pay and conditions into line with a number of other luxury hotels.

It will likely also inspire at the Park Hyatt Madeleine, where chambermaids are also on strike to improve their lot.

With the latest talks having broken down the workers have pledged to hold out “until Christmas” if necessary. “We will not resume work until you we have won”, asserted Nassira Benallou, a chambermaid who has worked in this luxury hotel for two years.

Nassira lives in Normandy and earns 1,144 euros net per month, 900 euros once transportation costs are paid. The workers of the Park Hyatt Madeleine hotel want a rise and an easing of punishing work intensity, among other demands.

Sadie Sakip, chambermaid at another hotel, the Concorde Opera, was also inspired by this victory, “Of course, it makes me want to [take action]. We too are having problems. We have just become a luxury hotel, subcontracting is growing, they are piling on more work and work rhythms are impossible to maintain. ”

Despite the victory,  Didier Del Rey of the CGT recalled that the Hyatt Vendome is  the only Parisian grand hotel that outsources its activities. “The fight is not over,” he said.

Earlier this week, in the midst of Paris fashion week, the workers celebrated with their own fashion show, marching in colourful dresses and neon wigs, to the evident surprise of some tourists.

Communist Party leader Pierre Laurent joined the jubilant marchers, commending the workers’ “courage and determination’. He added: ‘You prove that by being united and determined, we can achieve demands that seem unobtainable. “

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope


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