Unite, the country’s largest union, has challenged the hotel group, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, to keep its broken 2012 promise to phase in the London Living Wage for all of its workers.
In an action being held today (Wednesday 5 November) Unite’s hotel branch will gather outside the Crowne Plaza from 10:00 in Blackfriars, London, EC4V 6DB, demanding fair pay.
As the London Living Wage increased this week from £8.80 to £9.15 per hour, the pressure is on for the hotel group, redolent in profits, to keep the pledge it had made publicly two years ago to phase in the Living Wage over a five-year period as part of its bid to secure an Olympic contract.
Since 2012, the InterContinental Hotel Group has made no progress on its pledge, and London mayor Boris Johnson has abdicated his responsibility to push the hotel group- which successfully won the Olympic contract - into paying up.
Unite understands that a large proportion of IHG workers are sub-contracted through employment agencies and earn £6.50 per hour – the legally-binding national minimum wage.
IHG directly employs a smaller number of staff on minimum rates, typically £6.80 an hour, most of whom are food and beverage assistants, room service personnel and luggage porters.
The action lead by Unite’s hotel workers will be held as the union gives oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission today, supporting its claim for an immediate £1.50 hike in the national minimum wage, which Unite’s research has conclusively proven is entirely affordable.
Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “£6.80 is the rate IHG introduced in June 2012 when the company committed to phasing in the London Living Wage, so despite three consecutive hikes in the Living Wage rate, there seems to have been no progress at all in terms of phasing it in.
“As we present our evidence to the Low Pay Commission, calling for an £8 an hour National Minimum Wage, we challenge IHG to demonstrate their commitment to phasing in the London Living Wage by establishing £8 as a minimum rate with immediate effect on a voluntary basis.
“IHG’s back-tracking on its promise is especially scandalous given its latest quarterly report showing outstanding profits. According to IHG’s own figures, it just now experienced the strongest quarterly growth in revenues per available room over the past two years.
“The gap between the average worker at an IHG hotel and the highest paid director is jaw-dropping - the highest paid at IHG out-earns the average worker by a factor of 94. The claim that IHG cannot afford to pay its workers a living wage is preposterous.”
After Unite gives oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission--the independent body tasked with advising the government on setting the National Minimum Wage--members will meet outside the Commission office for a photo-op at 10:00.
Unite members will then proceed to the Crowne Plaza in Blackfriars for the morning of action. Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland will hand-deliver a letter to IHG management demanding the hotel group keep its Living Wage promise.
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- 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.