France: Strike in Holiday Inn subcontractor

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On January 10, strikers from the Holiday Inn of Clichy – employed by the subcontractor Héméra - and their supporters came to Brussels to demonstrate in front of the hotels of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, one of the world’s largest hotel group. This action is part of a European tour that will take the strikers from Paris to London via Barcelona and Geneva. Interview with Eric, one of the 12 striking employees.

Interview from Eric, by Sebastian Franco (Alter Summit)

How was your collective created and why?

We are on strike at the Holiday Inn in Clichy as a result of deteriorating working conditions, staff mutations and non-compliance with all our achievements.
The strike began on October 19 2017 following a second mutation. At the beginning, 98% of workers were on strike; since then, some of them have returned to work; we are now 12.

We understood that the Héméra company wanted to break the working community by mutating the oldest employees to put in their place other people who are new, less demanding.

Strikers are rebels who no longer support a system that kills them, that mistreats them. They are angry and ask for a new organization of work, because today we are suffering enormously, it is untenable. For years we have only been subjected to this, we have known other companies, but this one has called everything into question.
We want better working conditions, but also the reinstatement of our arbitrarily transferred colleagues, meal allowances, a 13th-month bonus, the internalization of employees and also the abolition of the mobility clause, introduced in our contracts in small print, because today companies use it to hurt employees.

We work non-stop but at the end of the month we can’t make ends meet. That’s why we went on strike to protest.

What is the objective of this tour of Europe?

Trade union organizations (CNT and CGT-HPE) took the initiative of these trips to send a strong message to the whole world and to show how employees working for subcontracting companies are abused.

It is important to send a strong message to the Intercontinental Group that what is happening at the Holiday Inn in Clichy is unbearable. We want negotiations as soon as possible so that we can get back to work as soon as possible.

I think that the situation is similar elsewhere than in Clichy, whenever there is subcontracting, because society seeks to earn as much as possible on the backs of the poor, working mothers and fathers, who only have their arms to work and to earn their daily bread.

The subcontracting company is there to put pressure on the working conditions of all and everyone but also to encourage the most fragile employees to resign; this is the objective of the transfers made by Héméra; we use people and throw them in the trash.

We were able to get in touch with delegates in Spain, England and Belgium, that’s why we’re here, we’re not alone; there are also supporters who came.

How’s the morale of the collective?

Morale is fine because we know why we are fighting for. We fight for our dignity that is the most important thing. We can’t let go, we don’t intend to, we’ll go through with it.

More informations
Victory of the strikers…