Spanish Kellys in Benidorm continue to revolt

by Lorraine Williamson
Las Kellys
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BENIDORM – The Kellys in Benidorm break out of dissatisfaction with the unions and start their own union to defend their labour rights. They do not feel sufficiently represented by the UGT and CCOO for better working conditions in their collective labour agreement. 

The spokesperson for the Las Kellys association – cleaning staff in hotels and tourist apartments – of Benidorm (Alicante), Yolanda García, announced they will create their own union in the coming months. 

Demands have been ignored

The Kelly’s association defends the rights of staff in hotels and other complexes. And, furthermore, they argue that both unions have ignored their demands. “They have not responded to our request for a meeting. Because they know what we are going to ask of them,” the spokeswoman said in statements to El Español. 

Nor have they heard from the sustainable economy department of the Valencian community. Its director, Elvira Rodenas Sancho, promised during a meeting with the Kellys last June that they would be given the opportunity to participate in the dialogue tables they would sit with employers, unions and administration. 

That is why the Kellys of Costa Blanca has chosen “the most logical solution”. They have decided to become a union themselves! “It is the only way because as an association we have done many things. But they are holding us back in many places,” emphasises García. 

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New employment contract dispute and next strike

The new collective labour agreement that unions, employers and the government will soon be discussing will replace the previous one. This was in force between 2014 and 2019 and has been extended until now due to the pandemic. However, as in the previous negotiations five years ago, the Kellys emphasise their two main red lines. These are – reducing the outsourcing of cleaning services by hotels and the workload. 

On September 27, International Tourism Day, the Kellys will make their voices heard during a strike against the overload and for ‘fair employment’. 

Ethical hotels portal

In August, the Kellys announced their intention to start an ethical hotels portal. They want to collect enough money through crowdfunding to set up a portal where only hotels can be booked that take the labour rights of the room staff seriously and also treat their staff properly. 

According to the Kellys, cleaning hotel rooms and tourist apartments is one of the toughest jobs in the tourism industry. Each cleaner has to clean 20 to 30 and sometimes even more rooms daily. Some of these are in very poor condition, as recently revealed in Benidorm. A cleaning lady shared photos on Twitter of the chaos she found in a room at a four-star hotel, which she had to clean within 15 minutes. 

The ethical reservation portal is set up in the style of Booking.com or Tripadvisor. But is only for hotels and accommodations that comply with the applicable collective labour agreement. The idea has been around for years but was launched just a month ago. Almost €89,000 has been collected so far via the crowdfunding platform Goteo. With this amount, a start can be made with the project. 

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