Darien Fenton blogs at Red Alert:
Today I went to support the locked out staff at Auckland’s 4.5 star hotel, the Rendezvous – that’s the staff who keep the hotel clean and help provide an enjoyable stay for hotel guests.
I have to say I don’t like employers locking out staff as a way to solve a pay dispute, just as I think strike action over pay disputes should be a last resort also.
From an employers point of view, there is even less reason to do a lock out. If one can’t settle a pay dispute, then the existing terms and conditions carry on. So locking staff out has a certain bullying factor to it.
This trans-national hotel chain is offering a measly pay increase of 1.5% from now (no backdating) for two years until 2012.
1.5% over two years isn’t a lot. However would have been useful for Darien to specify what their current rates are, so one can judge in context. Also of interest is how profitable that hotel is. If the hotel is losing money, then that might explain it.
The last pay increase was in January 2008 so the workers have already been 18 months without a pay increase. And there’s a catch. The employer wants the workers to give back one day’s sick-leave, to increase the costs of staff parking and remove a subsidy for health insurance. The Rendezvous says this is the final offer and the workers have been locked out from their jobs until they accept it.
As I said earlier, I don’t like employers who lock out staff to try and force them into accepting a pay offer. Again it would be useful to have more precise details of the “claw backs” such as how much sick leave is there currently, what is the current cost of staff parking and the current health insurance subsidy.
Look at these workers. Are they militants? Are they highly paid? I don’t think so. One housekeeper told me that she is expected to clean 18 rooms a day – an increase in 4 rooms since the Rendezvous took over the former Carlton Hotel. Isn’t this a productivity increase? Isn’t this supposed to deliver better wages?
I agree – greater productivity is what should lead to higher wages. Again, would be useful to have some stats on whether 18 rooms a day (I presume an eight hour day) is standard for the hospitality industry.Tags: Darien Fenton, industrial disputes, Red Alert