Campaigners have been demonstrating outside the annual general meeting of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza owner, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) this morning (Friday 4 May) as Unite, Britain’s biggest union, accused the hotel group of cheating its lowest paid workers out of over a year’s wages because of its broken living wage pledge.
In 2012, IHG pledged to phase in the higher living wage rate to secure the contract as the official hotel provider for the London Olympics. Its backtracking has cost a full time room attendant and others paid the national living wage a staggering £17,565 over the last six years.
During this same period the former CEO Richard Solomon, who made the living wage pledge, received remuneration of £24m between 2012 and 2017. The new CEO Keith Barr, who started in the role on 1 July 2017, has received a remuneration package of over £2.1m up to 31 December 2017 according to the group’s annual report - 130 times more than a full time worker on the national living wage of £7.83 an hour, earning £16,286 a year.
Unite is urging shareholders attending today’s meeting to challenge poverty pay and executive excess at the same time. They need to stand up for workers by putting pressure on the CEO to keep its living wage pledge and pay staff a wage they can live on.
Today, also marks the launch of Unite’s new report into the hotel group which exposes a trail of broken promises, including pulling out of a union access agreement and breaches of its commitments under international agreements, which will form the basis of a formal complaint to the UN Global Compact.
Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “Last year we protested at this same annual meeting over IHG’s broken promises to allow Unite access to its London properties and the living wage pledge. This led to a meeting with senior management and a promise to reconsider their position and to reconvene at a later date to agree a way forward. This never happened.
“A year later, there is still no union access agreement and IHG’s failure to keep its London living wage pledge has now cost its lowest paid workers a staggering £17,565 since 2012 – that’s more than a year’s wages for a worker on the national living wage.
“It is simply unacceptable that this hugely profitable company can blame the introduction of the national living wage and pension auto-enrolment to cheat low paid workers out of a year’s wages when its CEO is paid a jaw dropping £2.1m since starting in July 2017 – 130 times more than its lowest paid worker.
“IHG’s back-tracking on its promise is inexcusable given its latest quarterly report showing better than expected profits. According to IHG’s own figures, operating profits are up eight per cent to £544m.
“Unite is urging IHG to make good on its promises and live up to its commitments. It can start by signing up to a union access agreement to allow Unite into its hotels to talk about the benefits of trade union membership with staff, which is fully in line with the UN Global Compact guidelines.”
IHG became a full signatory to the UN Global Compact in 2009, which commits it to supporting the principles of freedom of association, the freedom to form and join a trade union and the right to bargain collectively.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Note to editors:
WHEN: Friday 4 May 2018 at 10:30
WHERE: InterContinental Park Lane, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY.
Details of Directors’ remuneration report can be found in IHG’s 2016 annual report on pages 70-77.
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.