Housekeepers play a pivotal role in ensuring the comfort and cleanliness of our hotels, yet they often grapple with issues that threaten their working conditions and their health and safety. As we celebrate another Global Week of Action for Hotel Housekeepers from 4-10 December 2023, EFFAT and the IUF shed light on the pressing concerns in the sector.
Outsourcing: The Pandemic’s Impact on Working Conditions
The global pandemic has accelerated the trend of outsourcing in the hospitality sector, leading to a range of detrimental consequences for housekeepers. Precarious forms of employment, such as part-time jobs and having multiple employers, have become increasingly common. This practice not only results in unpaid commuting hours and gaps between shifts but also amplifies the workload for housekeepers. The lack of career prospects, pay freezes, and the erosion of work-life balance further exacerbate the challenges faced by these essential workers.
Health and Safety: Balancing Cleanliness with Employee Well-being
Musculoskeletal Disorders: The physically demanding nature of housekeeping, characterized by heavy loads and repetitive movements, poses a serious risk to the health and well-being of housekeepers. Musculoskeletal disorders, often a consequence of these strenuous tasks, need to be acknowledged and addressed to create a safer working environment.
Work Overload: The “green choice” offered to customers, allowing them to opt out of daily room cleaning, has inadvertently increased the workload for housekeepers. The pressure to clean more rooms within a limited timeframe not only affects the quality of work but also contributes to heightened stress levels among housekeeping staff.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment within the hospitality sector is huge. Hotels and establishments must implement strict policies and provide training to ensure the safety and dignity of housekeeping staff.
Pay Inequity: Breaking the Chains of Gender Disparities
Housekeeping remains a predominantly female workforce, and unfortunately, it is one of the sectors where pay inequity is most pronounced. Despite the vital role they play in hotel operations and guest satisfaction, housekeepers often find themselves in poorly paid positions, struggling with the hotel’s most arduous work. Addressing this gender pay gap is not only a matter of justice but also a step towards recognizing the value of the work performed by these dedicated women.
This Global Week of Action for Hotel Housekeepers Week is a rallying call for a more equitable and resilient hospitality sector.