Hotel workers defend their wages and conditions

Hotel workers defend their wages and conditions

In April, workers at the Christies Beach Hotel received advice from their employer that they intended to terminate their Enterprise Agreement.

In April, workers at the Christies Beach Hotel received advice from their employer that they intended to terminate their Enterprise Agreement.

Their employer owns a number of other hotels where staff are paid in accordance with the Award. The Christies Beach Hotel was the only one of these hotels with a Topshelf Enterprise Agreement, so in most cases workers there received entitlements more beneficial than the Award.

Hotel management conducted an information session for employees. At the conclusion of this session, United Voice provided advice to members regarding the consequences of terminating the Agreement. After making some calculations, some members found they stood to lose about $5 per hour.

One member said,

“I saw no reason why we couldn’t keep our Enterprise Agreement. It had been working for years, and the only reason to change it now was to cut wages.

“I didn’t agree with doing the same job for less money.”

So members started banding together.

Members understood the first step in defeating the termination of their Agreement was to join together as union members.

Prior to the session, only a handful of workers at the Christies Beach Hotel were members of United Voice.

Only two weeks later, this number had quadrupled – to a majority of workers at the Christies Beach Hotel becoming union members.

By the time hotel management conducted the ballot to terminate their Enterprise Agreement, workers were organised and overwhelmingly voted to keep their Agreement.

One member said: “For me and my co-workers, keeping our Enterprise Agreement is huge. With the rising cost of living, it means not having to choose between paying rent and buying food. “

This comes as a welcome change after the events at Yankalilla Hotel in November 2015, where the RD Jones Group was able to terminate an Enterprise Agreement and reduce conditions to the minimum Award, because a majority of workers did not oppose the termination of their Agreement.

In an industry which is rife with exploitation, workers at the Christies Beach Hotel have set an important precedent by standing up and defeating an attack on their wages and conditions.

Branch Secretary David Di Troia said, “Members at the Christies Beach Hotel have come a long way. In only a matter of months, they have gone from only a few union members to an organised and strong membership.

“Well done to these members for standing up and defending their workplace entitlements.”

After their recent success, members at the Christies Beach Hotel are looking forward to bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement from a position of strong union membership.

 

 

 

When workers stick together and take action to defend their working conditions, they can win.

If your employer has indicated they intend to terminate your Enterprise Agreement, contact United Voice immediately.

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