Exploited cleaners use social media campaign to highlight poor treatment by hotel chains

“We don’t ever stop working, not to eat or even to go to the toilet,” says Carolina Martín, a hotel chambermaid in Seville, southern Spain. “We’re the invisibles of the hotel, the last in line and the worst paid. When we first started telling hotel clients what was going on, they were shocked – they’d never spoken to a chambermaid before.”

The consternation concerns a level of exploitation that Spanish trade unions describe as semi-slavery, mainly due to outsourcing. But Spain’s estimated 100,000 chambermaids are fighting back and have used social media to organise themselves as Las Kellys, a play on las que limpian, the women who clean. Their slogan: get organised if you don’t want them to organise you.

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