An investigation by IUF affiliate Unia into housekeeping in Marriott-branded hotels in Zürich – one of the world’s most expensive cities – shows the brutal consequences of cut-throat outsourcing: extreme speed-up and exploitation of a vulnerable workforce resulting in dangerously unsanitary conditions for workers and guests and multiple violations of the regional collective agreement for the cleaning sector which sets minimum legal working conditions.
Housekeepers in 8 franchised Marriott hotels in Zürich reported having to regularly clean up to 6 rooms per hour. In one hotel, 12 housekeepers were required to clean 300 rooms with the hotel fully booked. Workers regularly worked 12-13 hours daily to meet their work loads, as well as routinely working weekends. Cleaning staff were provided with a single full-strength cleaning agent with which to clean toilets, floors and even glasses and were not provided with basic protective equipment like gloves. Housekeepers, who are routinely exposed to sexual aggression and harassment, are given no support from their cleaning bosses, nor are any mechanisms in place to deal with the constant threat.
Marriott, says Unia, cannot evade responsibly for the atrocious conditions by hiding behind the franchise system and outsourcing responsibility along with operations. Ensuring decent working conditions, and quality rooms for guests, can only be achieved by directly employing the housekeeping and other staff who are the victims of outsourcing’s relentless race to the bottom.
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