The hotel workers’ branch of the Unite union plans a protest on Friday outside a shareholders’ meeting of the Intercontinental Hotel Group in London.

The picket is planned over union recognition for members working at the hotel group’s eight managed hotels in London and an alleged failure to uniformly pay the London ‘living wage’.

Unite said that IHG was the first UK hotel chain two years ago to commit to the London ‘living wage’ – currently £8.80 an hour.

But Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “However, two years on with the London ‘living wage’ at £8.80, there are still staff at these locations that are struggling to make ends meet on the national minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.

“Unite is simply asking IHG to apply the same standards as other global employers in the hospitality sector, such Compass and Sodexo, when it comes to equable and fair dealings with trade unions.”

The union says the IHG managed properties in which the company previously committed to phasing in the London ‘living wage’ are – Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, Holiday Inn Regents Park, Holiday Inn Mayfair, Holiday Inn Brent Cross, Crowne Plaza Kensington, Crowne Plaza City and the flagship Intercontinental Park Lane.

Unite also claims some of its members working at the eight hotels are “fearful” of revealing that they are union members because of the group’s perceived anti-union bias.

Turnbull said: “For the last five years, Unite has been attempting to engage with the IHG’s senior UK management over access to Intercontinental and Holiday Inn locations to explain the benefits of trade union membership to staff. But the company has refused to enter into a constructive dialogue.

“An access agreement would enable staff to make an informed decision on exercising their basic human rights to freedom of association and the establishment of collective bargaining as an alternative to the current company-controlled consultative arrangements.” 

An IHG spokesperson said: “IHG has made a commitment to become a London living wage employer in all the London hotels we manage.”

The time frame for this is a five year period to 2017. On the issue of union membership, the spokesperson said: “We respect and support our employees’ rights for union affiliation.”