The tactics employed by Las Kellys to fight stigma and improve working conditions

Gender EqualityThe protests organized by room attendants in Spain and other countries where tourism is a key economic player are increasingly frequent and better coordinated. They are seeking not only to improve their working conditions but also to reach out to society and fight the stigma associated with such positions, which are largely feminized.

Research conducted by experts at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and published in Annals of Tourism Research has analysed the various tactics used by room attendants in the tourism sector in their fight against social devaluation and the precariousness of their jobs. “Las Kellys deploys three types of subversion tactics on three different levels, namely the employment, organizational and socio-political levels,” said Verna Alcalde, a predoctoral researcher and the lead author of this research paper, which forms part of a thesis being developed in the UOC’s doctoral programme in Society, Technology and Culture.

Specifically, with respect to employment, this group aims to redefine the work of room attendants as qualified and rewarding. With regard to organizational aspects, Las Kellys highlights the central role of room attendants within the hotel business model. And, finally, at the socio-political level, the group has become a powerful player in the fight for dignity for these employees.

“These three tactics are successful not only because they resignify the work done by room attendants in the hotel industry, but also because they constitute practices that aim to transform their social and employment situation and empower them as active agents of that transformation,” said Anna Gálvez Mozo, who is an expert in gender, employment and precarious work, a researcher in the UOC’s Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and the thesis supervisor.

In this regard, it should be noted that Las Kellys has achieved a high level of visibility and prominence in Spain in its pursuit of the recognition of the central role played by room attendants in the smooth running of hotels and high-quality service.

This is an excerpt from a news article by Pablo Ramos, originally posted by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

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