Workers want bigger share of VAT

Metropole Hotel workers are pushing bosses for a bigger share of the gains that resulted from lower VAT rates in restaurants from July 2009.

Following a strike by workers at Easter, Monte Carlo SBM agreed to share some of the takings, but other establishments have not been as generous. In the continuing negotiations, union reps and bosses of the Association de l'Industrie Hotelliere Monegasque (AIHM) met in early October to try and reach an agreement. In a public gesture later that month, around 50 people demonstrated in front of the Metropole Hotel to demand that the hotel's management enter into negotiations to increase the workers' share of savings made from lower VAT rates. Members of the Union des Syndicats (USM) and the Hotels Cafes and Restaurants Union showed their solidarity with the hotel's union rep Daff Amady, who explained that workers have been trying to negotiate with management for months.

Amady stated that the workers wanted the Metropole Hotel to follow the lead of Monte Carlo SBM, referring notably to practices at the Meridien and Monte Carlo Bay. He claimed that even the Fairmont had entered into negotiations. At the Metropole the current share of VAT passed on to workers is on average 20.83 euros per worker per month, or 250 euros per year.

In a written communication, Managing Director of the hotel Jean-Claude Messant explained that employees would not be given a bonus on top of the one already received under current contracts. He said that the 2010 restaurant bonus was paid in July and other gains from the new VAT measures had been used to ensure job security, improve tools and equipment, and develop teams. The letter went on to state that since the beginning of the economic crisis the hotel has made no redundancies, and the fragility of the current business environment does not warrant increased expenditure.

The demonstration broke up after about an hour.

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