With Easter signalling the start of 2017’s ‘money-making season’, the union of Algarve hotel workers has decided to seize the occasion to highlight members’ perennial plight: low pay and poor conditions.
A protest is planned for 6.30pm outside Vilamoura’s Hotel Crowne Plaza.
CGTP-IN union secretary general Arménio Carlos is due to take part, writes alternative news website Abril, stressing that the issue here is the fact that it doesn’t seem to matter how well tourism is going in the Algarve or the country in general, hotel workers’ lot never appears to improve.
They are “the only ones who are not benefitting from the excellent results of the last few years”, says the Algarve branch of the CGTP-IN, which adds that despite profits in tourism increasing 17% in 2016, hotel workers’ purchasing power has actually dropped by 9% since 2010.
Precarity has increased (meaning jobs remain seasonal, and staff may even be required to pay their own social security contributions), there has been a “brutal increase in taxes”, cuts in supplementary pay for overtime and extended hours, and a general increase in what the union calls “repression exercised by employers in the sector”.
The choice of venue is symbolic. Three members of Vilamoura’s Hotel Crowne Plaza were sacked last year for having taken part in a protest for better pay and conditions, says Abril – adding that the workers’ union is still calling for the staff to be reinstated.