The big hotels are no paradise

Published by Efling on

The CEO of Hótel Saga says in Fréttablaðið today that it’s “strange” to focus strike action on the large hotels. “They are mostly taking care to stick to the laws and regulations,” the CEO is quoted as saying.

This is not in accordance with our reports from the field, whether from big hotels or small.

Our union representatives in large hotel chains have reported to us that management is taking down names of staff that go to the union. “People are given direct and indirect messages that there will be consequences if you’re affiliated with the union,” says Maxim Baru, head of organizing at Efling. “People are told directly that they shouldn’t go to the union. The human resources divisions of many of these companies have the view that the staff are theirs – and that the union representatives should serve at their leisure, rather than with their coworkers and the union.”

Earlier this month, Efling was notified of a wall of shame for sick days taken in one of the large hotels in Reykjavík.

Wall of shame for sick days

“This is in serious breach of privacy laws and the right of staff to their private lives,” says Halldór Oddsson, lawyer at ASÍ. “There could be fines on this sort of behaviour. We will report this to the Data Protection Authority.”

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, head of Efling, says that the mood in the hotels isn’t too good.

“We’ve been visiting these places through the winter. The staff are treated with incredible disrespect. I’ve often tried to point out how the attitude in the Icelandic labour market is reprehensible, especially when it comes to workers from abroad who do low waged work.”

“It’s not enough for bosses to point out, as they do when they’re showing off, that they pay according to the collective agreement. Firstly, the minimum wage in Iceland is so low that it’s not enough anyway for the bare necessities of living in Reykjavík. Secondly, there’s this gigantic problem of the thoroughgoing contempt towards people in low paying jobs. Employers seem to think that low waged workers, especially if they come from other countries, are simply single-use junk.”

Update: The human resource manager of Grand Hótel has come forward and says that this list was “in the office of a manager” and had “not been hanging anywhere”.

This is not true. The photo posted above was taken in a common space, accessible to staff, as seen on the photo below. Staff have been in touch with Efling to correct the manager’s statement.