Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

London hotels 'unfit' for Games

London skyline
Many London hotels rely on migrant labour, the report says

Hotels in central London are "unfit" to host the 2012 Olympics as they pay low wages and have "Dickensian" working conditions, a campaign group has said.

A report by civic campaign group London Citizens and the union Unite said hotel workers should be paid the so-called London Living Wage of £7.45 an hour.

It said they rely on a "migrant labour force that is hired and fired at will".

The British Hospitality Association said "substantial" wage rises were not realistic during a recession.

'Dickensian' is not too strong a word to describe the conditions that prevail in some of London's leading hotels
Rooms for Change campaign

The campaign - Rooms for Change - wants hotels to adopt the £7.45 an hour pay rate before the Olympics comes to the capital.

The report was based on interviews with hotel workers, clients, cleaning agencies and managers in the capital and abroad.

It said: "The heart of the problem is the treatment of workers and the management's reliance on a transitory, migrant labour force that is hired and fired at will.

"'Dickensian' is not too strong a word to describe the conditions that prevail in some of London's leading hotels."

The campaign also urged hotels to invest in training staff and helping them learn English.

A spokesman for the British Hospitality Association said: "At a time of recession, when the hospitality industry in London is experiencing severe cost pressures and falling demand, the priority has to be to preserve jobs as far as is possible.

"Substantial wage increases are just not realistic at this time."



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