all Stamford Plaza news

The rise of Unite Union

TV3's current affairs program The Nation recently did a profile on Unite, looking at the new approach Unite has brought to unions fighting for a better deal for low paid workers.

Industry agreement to lift wages in hotels needed

"It's time the hotel industry lifted wages across the board," says Unite hotel organiser Daphna Whitmore.

Speaking at the annual hotel industry conference in May, she proposed that the large hotel chains agree to raise the wages above the minimum.

"If the major hotels signed up to a code to lift the rates it would prevent the sort of competition among hotels that has driven down wages," she said.

She was speaking as part of a panel on the problem of recruiting and retaining staff in the hospitality industry.

The panel included Peter Gee, general manager of Stamford Plaza hotel; Paul Richardson, vice president of Accor hotel and Andrew Shaw an employment lawyer from Lane Neave.

The big speed-up - Housekeeping work overloads

Since 2006 in the United States the union UNITE-HERE has been campaigning for hotel workers' rights. The problems highlighted in the piece below will be familiar to housekeeping staff in New Zealand.

  • Hotel housekeepers are facing increasing injuries due to heavy workloads. In most hotels, housekeepers must clean 15 or more rooms per day.

  • Hotel housekeepers must rush to meet a daily quota of cleaned rooms. They frequently skip rest periods and meals in order to finish, and even work off the clock to meet their quotas.

  • In recent years, corporate hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton have increased both the pace and the amount of work performed by housekeepers.

Stamford Plaza workers win

Stamford Plaza workers win

by Daphna Whitmore

Workers at Stamford Plaza hotel have won a pay rise and other improvements after taking a two-hour strike action, holding an early morning protest, working to rule and preparing for an all day strike.
The company agreed to a 5.75% pay rise from April 2007 and 3% from October 2008, which means for most union members an increase of around $1.20 an hour.
Notably, Stamford staff will now have two paid 15 minute rest breaks. This is a first for hotels which have traditionally only had 10 minute tea breaks plus a half hour unpaid meal break.
Stamford management have also acknowledged the need for a wash-up time so that staff can clock out on time.

Wake Up Call for Hotels

A surge in hotel strikes over the past month is giving a solid base for the launch of Unite Union’s hotel campaign this month.
Hotel staff may work in luxurious surroundings but they are paid poverty wages. It’s as if two worlds exist and much of what the guests see is just an illusion. The pristine hotel room appears as if no one has ever been there before, yet moments earlier a cleaner has been under enormous pressure to make it spotless. An average room goes for $300 a night, but the woman who worked frantically for 20 minutes getting it ready for the next guest is paid the equivalent of $5 a room. To get through her workload she probably skipped her tea breaks.

King Booker supports hotel workers

Despite being woken up early at the Stamford Plaza hotel by the Unite Union rooster played at full volume King Booker was supportive of the workers outside on the picket line.
He even autographed a placard for us.
In case you don’t know who he is, here is what Wikipedia has to say about him...

Booker Robert Tio Huffman (born March 1, 1965), better known by his wrestling persona Booker T, is an American professional wrestler. He is owner of Pro Wrestling Alliance and currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling on its SmackDown! brand. Huffman’s Booker T persona changed his name to King Booker upon winning WWE’s King of the Ring tournament in mid-2006. Booker T is a five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and a six time World Champion overall.

Stamford Plaza gets wakeup call

On 22 February workers at the five-star hotel Stamford Plaza walked off the job for a two-hour strike. The hotel’s Singapore-based owners, Stamford Land Corporation, are investing $200 million in luxury apartments, a move that is tipped to make a fortune. Meanwhile, the hotel staff have been offered a zero percent pay increase for April 2006-April 2007. Negotiations for a renewed collective agreement began in March last year but the management stalled talks until December 2006.

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