I’m new here. I’m a room attendant – what may have been known in the past as a 'chambermaid' – but basically, a cleaner.
I work in the Housekeeping department of a luxury Four Star hotel in London made up of 350 bedrooms for the rich, the even richer, and people who managed to get cheap internet deals.
I'm expected to clean 16 rooms in a 7.5 hour day with a 30 minute unpaid lunch break that goes in the blink of an eye. That's 20 minutes to: change a double (or Queen or Kingsize) bed, perfectly plump and press four pillows, dust two bedside tables, pictures, a desk, an office chair, a table, clean a hospitality tray and replace tea, coffee, milk, sugar and cookies, wipe and 'mop' a bathroom (with a floor duster), wash any dirty cups or glasses, replace soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, fold all towels and bath matt, wash a sink and bath/shower and toilet, polish all chrome and hoover everywhere.
The housekeeping department is all women save for a couple of supervisors and around four young male laundry porters. We're a workforce of around 45 and we're Indian, Nigerian, Sri Lankan, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, Lithuanian, Czech and Latvian. Around 35 of us clean at least 10 rooms per day, covering the entire, five floor, 350 room hotel.
The first three days are training - shadowing and working with a long-term worker.
I had my first day today, trained by a twentysomething Indian woman – Adhira* - who literally seemed to dance around the bed, the room and bathroom spraying, tucking, smoothing, straightening, hoovering and wiping.
It's also pretty hard to keep up when half, literally, half of all the bedding we're putting down is marked in some way and needs to be taken off and replaced again, and when your hoover's held together with gaffer tape and the end keeps falling off, it's pretty stressful. But, you have to go 'Faster, faster, faster....
*All workers' names will be kept confidential