Cleaning Up After Globalization: An Ergonomic Analysis of Work Activity of Hotel Cleaners

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Abstract:

Hotels and hotel chains are responding to globalization and increased competition through new marketing initiatives, employment practices, and restructuring decisions that are intensifying the work of cleaners. In this paper, we report on how such work intensification at two hotels in Montréal, Canada, is changing the nature of cleaners’ jobs. Specifically, we found that the numbers of operations to be completed, the numbers and weights of items to be cleaned, and the effort involved have all increased. “Flexible” employment relationships and outsourcing have also worsened cleaners’ workloads. In response to our research, the labour union representing cleaners has negotiated a lower number of room assignments per cleaner, as well as an improved way of taking into account the variability of work when determining the quota of rooms to be cleaned. Despite this, new marketing strategies continue to intensify work. We conclude that standards and regulation on a governmental level are a necessary complement to union actions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0066-4812.2006.00595.x

Affiliations: CINBIOSE, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada; ; messing.karen@uqam.ca, Email: seifert.ana-maria@uqam.ca

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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