Channel 4 sent an undercover reporter to the UK's Premier Inn. Picture: Channel 4
Channel 4 sent an undercover reporter to the UK's Premier Inn. Picture: Channel 4

Reporter goes undercover to bust hotels

A SHOCKING new documentary shows exactly what hotel staff get up to in your room - including cleaning the toilets with guest towels.

Filmed at London Bridge's branch of the UK's Premier Inn hotels, an undercover reporter called Irina got a job with ISS, an agency that the company uses to secure its cleaners, The Sun reports.

In order to save on time, the UK's Channel 4 Dispatches documentary shows a cleaner using a single dirty towel to clean the entire bathroom, including the toilet. The practice contrasts with the training that the workers are given, where they are told to use different cloths for the toilet, bath and sink.

Watch the footage here.

A cleaner is seen telling Irina that if she is pulled up on using just one cloth for the whole bathroom, she is to deny it and say she uses separate cloths for the toilet, sink and bath.

The documentary also reveals that overworked cleaners work several extra hours each day in a bid to meet the hotel chain's cleaning targets. While cleaners are paid the UK National Living Wage of £7.50 ($13) per hour, many are working so many extra hours that their pay works out at under $8.80 per hour.

During her time undercover, the journalist reports that she is given an unrealistic amount of work to do each hour. She's expected to clean three rooms every 60 minutes, no matter how large or dirty the room is.

If she spends any extra time on the rooms, she is not paid for it.

 

Irina also has to attend a daily meeting for half an hour before her shift starts, which is unpaid, as well as sign for a half-hour break per day - which she is often unable to take as she is too busy.

But she is still told to mark the break down as "taken" anyway.

The meetings, her break and the extra times she finds herself spending on cleaning the rooms mean that she is working far longer shifts that she signed up for. As a result, her pay works out at under $9 an hour.

The documentary shows Irina repeatedly stating to the head housekeeper that 20 minutes isn't enough time to clean a large room that a family of four have stayed in. But she is knocked back and told she "must" finish the rooms in 20 minutes.

Irina is also told she must come in an hour earlier in the morning to prepare her cleaning trolley - but that she will not be paid for this extra hour. Responding to the footage obtained by Channel 4, Premier Inn said: "The serious allegations in today's program concern staff working for ISS, a multinational company that provides outsourced housekeeping services at a small minority of our hotels.

"As a responsible business we take our commitment to the people who work for us extremely seriously. We were very concerned to hear allegations of poor working practices by ISS at one of our hotels. We are in the process of investigating these allegations and our findings will be addressed directly with ISS.

"We insist all suppliers work to robust standards that fully cover the rights of all team members."

Premier Inn is the UK's largest hotel brand, with over 50,000 rooms.
Premier Inn is the UK's largest hotel brand, with over 50,000 rooms.

They added: "We will take whatever action is necessary to resolve any issues and we do not tolerate suppliers who breach employment law or fail to meet the standards that our guests rightly expect.

"At the vast majority of our 780 hotels, we directly employ our housekeeping teams. None of these have been the subject of any allegations in today's program.

"We have strict cleaning procedures and training, and we do not set a target of three rooms cleaned per hour. We ensure every room is cleaned to the exacting standards expected by our guests. That's why around 95 per cent of guests give us a 4 or 5 star rating for cleanliness.

"Our people are our number one priority and we are consistently voted one of the UK's best companies to work for.

The Premier Inn Hotel.
The Premier Inn Hotel.

"We ensure that all of our team-members are paid the National Living Wage or above."

ISS have also released a statement, which reads: "We have taken the allegations extremely seriously and have taken immediate steps to investigate them. We have performed both internal and external investigations to analyse the alleged issues at our customer's site in question.

"We pride ourselves on the high levels of training we give staff at all levels within our business to ensure they can do their jobs properly and within their scheduled working hours.

"We apply the National Living Wage at this site, just like we do at all the other sites, and it is not our policy in any way to ask our employees to work outside their contractual hours without pay.

This story originally appeared on The Sun.


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