The hotel workers’ trade union warned today about low pay in the sector, saying that about 60% of hotel staff and 80% of catering workers are struggling by on the minimum wage.
A statement from the union, denies assurances from the Association of Hoteliers of Portugal (AHP) and the Portuguese Tourism Confederation (CTP) that staff are earning more.
The hoteliers association said that the average salary paid in the hotel industry in 2016 was €1,035, excluding subsidies and bonuses; while the Portuguese Tourism Confederation says that salaries were between €1,000 and €1,500 - with higher pay for overnight work and at weekends.
The union’s retort is that, "these figures have nothing to do with reality. Salaries in hospitality and catering are very low. About 80% of catering workers and
about 60% of hotel workers receive only the national minimum wage."
"The sector does not pay night and weekend allowances, there is only a night allowance which is paid from midnight to 07:00 in the hotel industry with a wage increase of 50%, but which covers very few workers."
Also, "working on Saturday and Sunday in catering and hospitality is not paid at a higher rate, although the trade union has been demanding this for years."
The union also says that the average monthly salary "of €632 can only be achieved if the food allowance is included, ranging from €32 to €122."
In order to reverse this situation, the trade union wants the Association of Hoteliers of Portugal to end its refusal to negotiate wages, which has been in place since 2009.
The union is not best pleased with Grupo Pestana, which "has not negotiated higher wages at Pousadas de Portugal since 2009."
With hotels bursting with customers last year, alongside the higher room rates achieved, the workers who keep the region hotels clean and the guests fed, appear to come out the worst off, with low wages and seasonal lay-offs.
It might help if people were to tip more generously, or at all. I understand the Portuguese do not regard tipping as necessary, and many other nationalities have the same view.