Migrant workers on strike in france - updated!

Let us put an end to slave work solidarity with Arcade workers on strike

13.Jun.02 - [go straight to the update] Arcade is a virtually unknown company. Yet the majority of the hotels in France that belong to the ACCOR Group (e.g. Atria, Coralia, Etap, Formule 1, Frantour, Ibis, Libertel, Mercure, Motel 6, Novotel, Parthenon, Sofitel, Thalassa) have Arcade employees working for them on an outsourcing basis, cleaning the rooms. Most of these workers are Third-World women, many of them barely literate, sometimes undocumented, and therefore particularly vulnerable in dealing with their employers.

Officially, these women earn 7.16 euros gross an hour, which is just over the minimum wage. In practice, however, they are required to achieve a fixed "output". Each worker is assigned a certain number of rooms to clean, with 17 minutes of labor time allowed per room. So what happens if it takes you longer - which is inevitable, since management is constantly checking up on you? You simply don't get paid for the extra time needed. And what about when there's nothing to do? Your hours don't get counted. All contracts are involuntary part-t ime, but in reality, everyone puts in over 35 hours a week (normally considered full-time in France).

Arcade management thought they'd found a docile, easy-to-exploit workforce that would be unable to stand up for itself (since a lot of the women are undocumented, unfamiliar with the country's laws and usually have only limited mastery of French). As a result, they have tried to wring every last drop of sweat out of the workers, with the obvious intention of dumping them once declining health and worn-out backbones have made them useless. Needless to say, Arcade has done so with the full, active cooperation of ACCOR, which has succeeded in cutting costs by imposing drastic conditions on it sub-contractors.

Since March 7, however, part of the workforce has been out on strike and has launched a number of initiatives against Arcade and ACCOR management, demanding decent working conditions and wages. The demands include the following:

New Year's bonus for all.
Threats and pressure on the workers must stop, while contract work schedules must be abided by.
Full-time contracts for all workers (151 hours a month).
All penalties against workers must be drawn, especially 8 firings.
Work quotas must be brought down to 2.5 rooms in 3-star hotels and 3 rooms in 2-star hotels.

Help the strikers to fight these modern-day slave-traders. Don't patronize hotels in the ACCOR Group. When you get back home, tell everyone what's going on right in the heart of prosperous Europe. In your hotel, protest at the reception desk and to management. Write to them to show your opposition to such exploitation and your support for the Arcade workers in struggle.

Arcade Workers Strike Support Group

Update 16.jun.02 - Negociations are in a deadlock. All the management is willing to do is the old trick of meeting the strikers one by one. Strikers and activists of the supporting comittee visited two ACCOR hotels on Tuesday 11th. In one of them there have been problems with the "security" people of the company but they were unable to prevent a temporary occupation. Yeterday, another action of the same type was planned but the activists (roughly one hundred) were surrounded by the police and could nothing.

Another action is planned for Saturday 22nd and a demonstration of all the unions of the cleansing and services sectors in support of the strike and for the revendication of the sector on Saturday 3rd of July.

Active support from abroad would be great both by its effect on the bosses and on the morale of the strikers and supporters.