Geography Compass

Precarious work conditions in London’s top hotels

London at night
London at night

By Rosa Mas Giralt

BBC Newsnight reporters went undercover to investigate the exploitation of cleaners in some of London’s leading hotels. The hotels contract with cleaning agencies to undertake the servicing of their rooms; however, there is evidence that agency staff are often paid less than the legal minimum wage of £5.73 per hour. Furthermore, the pressure to service the rooms quickly is detrimental to the standard of cleaning. Many of the protagonists in this documentary are migrant workers from other EU countries who are facing the harsher side of the neo-liberal labour market in the UK.

Exploring the experiences of low-paid migrant workers in the UK highlights cases of precarious labour conditions and may help balance public perceptions of the reality that many migrants face once in the country. In a recent article in Geography Compass, Louise Waite argues for a critical geography of precarity.

Watch the full documentary on the BBC Newsnight website

 Read the full article: Louise Waite (2008) “A Place and Space for a Critical Geography of Precarity?” Geography Compass

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