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(en) France, Alternative libertaeir December - Employees cleaning - A month strike in a four-star [machine translation]

Date Tue, 20 Dec 2011 14:22:55 +0200


The 35 employees engaged in cleaning the 4 star Novotel Chatelet-Les Halles located near the Châtelet in Paris went on strike for over a month, from October 6 to November 8. This movement reflects the imposition of working conditions for derogation under the guise of outsourcing, the maids. ---- At the Novotel Châtelet-Les Halles, three crew, 28 maids in most African and four nannies are employed by the company-are outsourcing Sin and Stes. The maids (part of which has over 20 years in the same hotel) were previously employees of the company Arcade, where there was a big conflict in 2002-2003. The management group Accor had then agreed to sign a charter, in which it pledged to bring the working conditions of employees of the outsourcing of those of the hotel staff [ 1 ]. To improve the image of the group, the HR department had even announced the internalization of the room cleaning. The memorandum of agreement resulting from the strike has not been applied to the maids who work in the Novotel, the market has been overtaken by Sin and Stes in 2004, like many hotels in the Paris region.

The strike action

The conflict began during the preparation of elections for staff representatives. Employees of Sin and Stes had accumulated many unmet claims, and wanted to open negotiations. The direction of the Novotel made them believe that the company would Stes Sin and, anyway, losing the market in late 2011, a maneuver to prevent the normal course of elections. As of October 6, employees are busy throughout the day the hotel lobby, making a lot of noise with drums and pans ...

The hotel management has made threats and insults against the strikers. For the duration of the conflict, support rallies were held at the Novotel, two to three times a week. Support for the strike was organized by the Trade Union CGT trade and services in Paris, and trade unionists from South Rail South and cleaning of the CNT-cleaning. For a month, no serious negotiations could take place, the direction of the Novotel having only offered to employees to increase their annual premium first 50, then 100 euros. A support committee has organized several very active distribution of leaflets, and even picnics inside the halls of other hotel chain Accor.

The direction of the Novotel then sued the strikers to demand their expulsion from the hotel. They went to the Paris Court in chambers on October 25, but the judge insisted that the hotel management company and Sin and Stes agree to enter into meaningful negotiations with the presence of a mediator. The judge finally handed down its decision to evict the strikers November 8, and an end of conflict agreement was reached that day.

Working conditions

Three years ago, the hotel have been adjusted to be become a four star. It still shows full, even if the room rate is very high (180 to 600 euros), while a maid earns three euros for cleaning a room. The maids are paid based on the number of rooms they cleaned each month (based on rates set in their contract), which makes them a salary of up to 1,000 euros net. Most employees have contracts of three to six hours per day (65 hours to 130 hours monthly), and are supposed to clean during that time between 15 and 18 rooms. Eight women have contracts with CDD, as they have for several years to clean up this place. The hours are generally from 8:30 to 14:30, but women actually end up between 16h and 19h. The rates imposed on maids are indeed 2.5 to 3 rooms per hour, however, this does not meet the standards of a luxury hotel, where the household of a room requires an average of 40 minutes, and often one hour.

Crime of bargaining and concealed work

The CGT-HPE (hotel prestige and economic) filed 43 complaints cases to industrial tribunals for the crime of bargaining, undeclared work, failure to pay overtime or additional hardware. The crime of bargaining when a transaction is the supply of labor has the effect of injury to employees, to avoid the application of legal provisions, in terms of an agreement or a collective agreement [ 2 ] . Now here is the case, since the work of the maids at the heart of the hotel trades and not a task schedule, and since, for example, employees are paid at the Novotel on 18 months, while those the cleaning company do not even have the 13th month, resulting in a significant loss of income. Undeclared work refers to the definition of rates, purely theoretical, while the employees are actually paid "to the task."

So many hours of work necessary to clean the rooms are not declared and not paid daily. In addition, contracts for part-time work are often illegal, because they do not specify when it is needed, the days and hours. The use of CDD is misleading, because the end of the contract employees are forced to stay at home for two months for a new CSD.

The results of the strike

The employee-es returned to work Nov. 9, after 34 days of strike. The agreement to end conflict with the direction of the Novotel does not satisfy all the demands of the strikers, who have nevertheless obtained the passage of five CSD CDI with no mutation, the passage of the annual premium of 300 to 500 euros (for those who have a contract of at least 130 hours in proportion to the hours listed in the contract for the others), and increased to 130h 151h volume hourly contracts for seven employees.

Salary increases and payment for strike days were not obtained. It is unclear about the payment for hours actually worked: the principle of "pay-per-task" remains. The work group is very united, but he must remain vigilant so that no sanction be applied against the former strikers.

The system of contracting out does not improve working conditions, since it leads companies that want to capture a market to offer to do the work for an ever lower cost, with ever fewer people. As and when repeated conflicts, given the inability of the employee-es of subcontractors to obtain satisfaction, the demand for integration with the hotel staff (or at least the application of the Convention and collective agreements of the originator) has emerged as a watermark.

It is in fact an essential demand, more and more often affirmed by the stewards because it conditions the satisfaction of other claims.

Odile Merckling

[ 1 ] Odile Merckling, Women of immigration in precarious work, 2011, L'Harmattan, 300 pages.

[ 2 ] Article L. 8231-1 of the Labour Code
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