Spanish hotel booking app to show staff working conditions | Spain
Tourists booking a hotel in Spain will soon be able to choose not only the one with the best views or the biggest swimming pool, but also the one where the staff enjoy decent working conditions.
After unsuccessfully trying to persuade platforms such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor to include working conditions in their hotel ratings, Las Kellys, the tireless Spanish organization of housekeepers, is setting up its own booking platform .
Last week, its crowdfunding campaign surpassed the €60,000 minimum required to set up the website and mobile app and is on track to reach the maximum €90,000 goal.
“We want to usher in a new era of tourism where people’s working conditions and their humanity are above economic interests,” said Las Kellys spokeswoman Vania Arana.
To meet Las Kellys criteria, hotels must adhere to the National Wages and Conditions Agreement, comply with health and safety regulations, have an equal pay policy, employ vulnerable people and employ in-house maids.
Las Kellys – the name is play on weary as limpian (the women who clean) – started as a WhatsApp group in 2014. Members formed an association in 2016 and then, frustrated by the indifference of the union supposed to represent their interests, the Barcelona group founded a union, Sindicato Las Kellys Catalonia .
There are groups in major cities in Spain as well as in the Balearic and Canary Islands and in seaside resorts such as Benidorm.
The movement arose in response to the growing trend for hotels, especially large chains, to outsource workers to agencies. One of the Las Kellys’ complaints is that these agencies employ them as cleaners, who under national wage agreements are paid less than maids.
Until fairly recently, hotels employed their maids as staff, and as such they were protected by an agreement that guaranteed them a monthly salary of €1,200 (£1,025) for a 40-hour week, as well as sickness and maternity benefits.
While some outsourced contracts may seem to offer the same pay and conditions, there is a catch: they also specify how many parts need to be done in a six-hour shift, on average between 25 and 30, which is not humanly Not possible.
As a result, the workers worked unpaid overtime to meet their quota, bringing their hourly rate to €3 or €4, below the minimum wage. If they don’t meet their quota, they are fired.
The pandemic, which has forced hotels to close, has highlighted the precarious working conditions of these women. In many cases, the agencies doing the outsourced work didn’t bother to apply for the furlough scheme and simply closed the business, Arana said.
“About 16,000 colleagues who had contracts to work the summer months found themselves dry and unable to claim anything,” she said.
The women were forced to survive on food banks and charity from community groups and the church. The government only offered a one-time payment of €1,000, and that only if they earned less than €400 a month.
“I couldn’t claim leave because my husband was getting it, €900 a month, and I’m only saying that because I’m one of the lucky ones,” Arana said.
Now that hotels have reopened, the situation is even worse, she says.
“A woman came to see us because an agency was paying her €39 for more than eight hours a day. She told them, ‘I’m going to report you to the Kellys,’ and as soon as we wrote to them, they fired her.”
Another trick is to employ people for a two-week trial and then get rid of them at the end of the trial period, she said.
Arana points out that although they have Spanish members, the majority are immigrants from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa.
“There are a lot of African women,” she says. “Hotels like them because they often speak English. They prefer single mothers because they are easier to exploit.
As technicians prepare the app and website for the new year, Las Kellys will approach hotels to see if they meet his criteria to offer reservations through the app.
“I would tell people, if you’re looking for a hotel, look for one where there are humane working conditions and think about exploitation,” Arana says. “The only thing that outsourcing has brought us is illness, a huge workload and, ultimately, social and economic poverty.”