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Opener Las Kellys

One who fights for chambermaids' rights

With your organization "Las Kellys" Myriam Barros became at this year's ITB with the so-called "TO DO Award Human Rights in Tourism" excellent. A prize that rewards tourism-related projects and measures in which the interests of the local population are taken into account in the planning and implementation of the projects. And it is precisely these interests that are taken seriously by Myriam Barros' organization "Las Kellys".

Strictly speaking, she and her association are committed to better working conditions for housekeeping in Spanish hotels. And if you look at the numbers, it becomes clear how important and relevant your work is. After France, Spain has the most arrivals of international tourists worldwide and with almost 15 percent of GDP, tourism is an important industry for the country. The number of accommodation providers has been growing for years, many people work in the industry, officially there are 200.000 housekeeping in the country Spain, unofficially much more. That sounds pretty good at first. Unfortunately, not everyone benefits from this growth. Especially not the maids.

Without the maids, the hotel would not be the flagship of the hotel

The role of housekeeping in a hotel is so important. If it did not exist, you would not even be able to buy the product of a hotel, the flagship - a clean double room. A decent hotel room without housekeeping would not exist.

In reality, chambermaids tend to be at the lowest level in the hotel hierarchy with their working conditions. More and more of them are no longer employed directly by the hotel, but via an external company. Above all, that means - less money. If you earn around 1200 euros a month with a direct job, you only get 800 euros a month through the external company, says Barros. Too little to survive. At the same time, a maid expects an exceptionally high workload. More and more rooms have to be cleaned and you have to be quick, because you usually don't have much time to clean.

“We clean in a piece. We have about eight to ten minutes for a room and we get 2,50 euros for it. "

Myriam Barros in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung

With the organization "Las Kellys", Barros campaigns for more rights for cleaning staff. It is not without reason that the name of their organization resembles “las que limpian” (Spanish for “those who clean up”) and is also derived from the Gaelic word for “warlike”. Myriam Barros is committed and fights for an entire industry. And with success. The organization already has 3000 members, after a conversation with the former Spanish Prime Minister, the "Las Kellys" are known throughout Spain and are taken seriously. They demand that typical physical complaints such as back, knee and other joint damage, which the cleaning in a piecework brings with it, be recognized as occupational diseases, which in turn facilitates early retirement. At the same time, they demand clear agreements on the maximum workload, which are also adhered to.

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The award at this year's ITB means a lot to Barros. She feels that the internationally known award supports and encourages her in her work that she has chosen the right path. She will keep fighting.

How you can become active yourself

You can also get active as a holidaymaker. By inquiring in advance whether the hotel's room service is externalized. If so, you simply choose another hotel where this is not the case. So you can influence a lot through your purchase decision. And there is enough choice of accommodation in Spain anyway.

Continue reading: The whole interview with Myriam Barros in the Süddeutsche Zeitung

"The cleaner" in the Frankfurter Rundschau

official website of the "Las Kellys" organization (in Spanish)

Lisa helped set up the Good Travel Blog and will write for us as a freelance author in the future. She is passionate about traveling and dancing around the world with a small ecological footprint.


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