Low paying posh London hotels face World Tourism Day demos

Low paying posh London hotels face World Tourism Day demos

26 September 2013

Protests against two top London hotels, which refuse to pay some of their staff the London ‘living wage’ of £8.55 an hour, will be staged tomorrow (Friday 27 September).

Unite, the country’s largest union, will be mobilising members in its hospitality branch to demonstrate outside the Radisson Edwardian May Fair, Stratton Street,  W1J 8LT from 16.30 to 17.00 and the Holiday Inn Mayfair, 3 Berkeley St, W1J 8NE from 17.00 to 17.30.

Unite will be using tomorrow’s United Nations designated World Tourism Day to highlight the plight of the low pay of hotel staff, many of them women and from ethnic minorities, while the number of tourists visiting the capital soars.

Unite said that there are currently no employers within London’s hospitality sector which independently endorse and pay their employees the London ‘living wage’ rate of £8.55 an hour. Many of its members are forced to live on little more than the national minimum wage of £6.19, set to rise by 12p on 1 October.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “Our protests tomorrow are focused on two hotels where we believe things should be different.

“The Radisson Edwardian May Fair hotel operates a franchise agreement with Carlson which owns the Radisson brand and the Holiday Inn Mayfair is owned by Intercontinental Hotels (IHG). Neither of these hotels pays its lowest paid workers the London ‘living wage’.

“However, both Carlson and IGH are signatories to the United Nations global compact. Employers, who are signatories to this compact, have given an international commitment to standards of decency, including the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

“We call on these two hotels, and all London hotels, to pay the ‘living wage’, so that some of the lowest paid workers in one of the world’s most expensive cities share in the current tourism boom that the capital is enjoying.”

In the first quarter of 2013 the tourism sector in London saw 3.4 million overseas visitors, a 4.2 per cent increase on the same period last year. This generated expenditure of £2.1 billion, up 11.5 per cent from already huge expenditure recorded last year during the Olympics and other key events.

In the summer, Unite presented its submission 'Hopelessly Addicted to Low Pay' to the Greater London Authority (GLA), demanding that the hospitality and hotel industries pay the London ‘living wage’ of £8.55 an hour.


For further information please contact Dave Turnbull on 07980 721427 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.