Winner 2019 Las Kellys
“Kelly“ means warrior in Irish. It is a very suitable name for the Spanish association “Las Kellys“ which fights for the rights of room attendants in the hospitality sector. Tourism in Spain is booming, in 2017 the country welcomed more than 80 million visitors. However, this favourable situation does not benefit everybody – far from it. Since the conservative Spanish government passed new labour market reforms in the light of the financial and economic crisis in 2012/2013, the room attendants’ situation has deteriorated dramatically. Most hotel businesses dismissed their staff and transferred their room service to contractors. These agencies for temporary work employ the room attendants under precarious conditions. They no longer belong to any trade union, and no industry-wide collective agreement applies. The consequences: a significantly lower income, even higher work pressure, and occupational diseases are not recognised as such. But the Kellys’ struggle for their own cause seems to be successful. The maids’ association already has about 2.000 members. In Madrid, a delegation of Kelly women met with former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and got international attention. This helped them to already achieve one of their objectives: to step out of invisibility. And with their demands for better working conditions they also made their voices heard. The new socialist government under Pedro Sánchez has presented an action plan against exploitation at the workplace. Some hotels have already reacted and have re-employed their housekeeping staff.
Myriam Elizabeth Barros Grosso
Av / Papagayo Number 98 House 12 Playa Blanca Yaiza Lanzarote CP 35580