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Spain: Unions challenge fake 'service providers' impoverishing hotel workers

10 July 2017 News
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In response to a legal challenge from CC.OO Servicios, 'multiservice' provider Externa Team has been fined EUR 2.6 million for fraudulently employing 275 hotel housekeepers on fake 'training' contracts at Hotusa hotels since 2013. Under this scheme, the workers were required to clean 14 rooms daily in a 6-hour shift for a monthly wage of EUR 601.  The workers had previously earned double that as full-time Hotusa employees.

Service providers like Externa Team have prospered under Spain's 2012 austerity-driven labour market 'reforms' in hotels and the wider service sector. Employees are dismissed and then re-employed by the service company, still performing their previous job but at a fraction of their previous wage. Under this scheme, 120,000 hotel housekeepers in Spain have lost 40% of their pay since 2012.

Employers have exploited the legislation to legitimize the practice through bogus 'collective agreements' with selected employees. The Spanish unions have challenged these fake agreements, with the result that 46 have been voided by the courts.

Barcelona-based Hotusa offers marketing and other services for independent hotels in 48 countries as well as directly operating hotels in 50 cities.