surinenglish

Las Kellys hit La Moncloa

The friendly greeting from the receptionist when you first arrive at a hotel and the smile from the waiter who serves you in the cafeteria or on the terrace are of vital importance. However it's just as fundamental, or even more so, for the room to be clean, in fact spotless, when you go in. That's why it's hard to understand that the former are highly valued employees, while the cleaners are not given that consideration. In fact they are so little valued that the hoteliers choose to get rid of that part of their staff and instead contract the same services through an external company. While it's always wrong to generalise, it's true that on a global level this strategy is growing: more and more hotels are outsourcing work that is key to guests feeling at home in their holiday accommodation.

It was Spain's labour reform that opened the door to a practice that has sent these professionals into such precarious conditions that they go so far as to describe as modern-day slavery. For some time now, the affected workers, with the support of social media, have been uniting to create a unique force, which has been raising its voice to achieve what few imagined they could: to meet with the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, to explain their problems and ask for his support. And while they believe that they still have a lot to do, this meeting has given them strength, has made them visible in the society and has united them in their fight for decent employment, in which they are valued as professionals: a demand that is so basic and simply common sense. It shouldn't make a difference that in their case their work involves cleaning, a task that is just as important as serving a cup of coffee or checking in a new guest. Or perhaps even more so, because no employee is more in contact with the hotel guests than the cleaners, who strive to learn more, to improve their English and always find a solution to a tourist's problem.

The defence of the quality of the service starts there, by dignifying the profession. 'Las Kellys' have already found their way to La Moncloa, the prime minister's residence, and they are not going to stop until they achieve their deserved goal.