Maid in London is a blog by a cleaner in a London hotel, about work conditions and her efforts to form a union. It’s excellent, if depressing, reading.
A recent study by a major UK union found that out of 100 housekeepers they surveyed, 84 said they used painkillers every day before coming to work.
Nipping downstairs to the locker room, I realise why so much of the linen is marked or lacking altogether. There’s one guy on the laundry chute. One guy dealing with what a former Linen Porter told me is about four tons of laundry hurtling down a single metal chute from five floors into a massive pile every day. He wears a dust mask.
There used to be two porters on the job, but now there’s just one. The guy struggling with it all is from Romania. His eyes are spritely behind his white mask. He must be about 21. We smile and say hi to each other.