THE giant AccorHotels company announced yesterday that it would apply the government’s so-called living wage to all its staff irrespective of age, but campaigners described the concession as “crumbs from the master’s table.”
The owner of the Ibis and Novotel hotel chains employs 5,000 people in Britain, of whom 16 per cent are aged under 25.
Chancellor George Osborne’s new minimum wage of £7.20 per hour is only mandatory for workers of 25 or over.
But hotel workers organised by general union Unite said the move was “paternalistic” and AccorHotels had better recognise its workers rather than offer a small salary increase.
A former hotel cleaner and member of Unite’s hotel workers’ branch, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Star: “Accor are not honouring their global compact to allow unions and this is a paternalistic move — crumbs from the master’s table.
“We don’t want to be slaves anymore — minimum wage isn’t a living wage.”
AccorHotels managing director Thomas Dubaere claimed that the new pay policy was a company investment in “their people.”
But Unite’s hospitality sector regional officer Dave Turnbull replied: “This is just an increase in the minimum wage.
“We would welcome their move not to discriminate on age — a waiter over 25 is doing the same as a waiter under 25.
“But they should be tagging their rates on the actual living wage, not on the minimum wage they can get away with.”
According to the Living Wage Foundation, decent pay in Britain should be of £8.25 per hour across the country and £9.40 in London.
“From our point of view, collective bargaining for workers is always going to give them a better deal than waiting for the government to uplift the minimum wage,” concluded Mr Turnbull.