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AccorHotels has announced that it will go beyond the UK government’s guidelines and will apply the new National Living Wage to all AccorHotels employees previously paid below £7.20 per hour, irrespective of age.
The hotel group, which employs over 5,000 people in the UK across a portfolio of brands including Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and ibis, says it will apply the £7.20 rate as a minimum for all permanent AccorHotels employees from 1st April 2016.
Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director AccorHotels UK&I said, “Sustainable performance and ambitious development plans are at the core of AccorHotels continuous growth strategy in the UK. We believe in investing in our people irrespective of age alongside the lifelong learning and international mobility opportunities in the Group. We are proud to be part of an industry which is creating jobs and we want to take this opportunity to have all members of AccorHotels employees, including under 25, on the National Living Wage and above.”
The decision reflects the group’s commitment to employees on good labour rights previously demonstrated through the provision of lifelong learning and development programmes giving all employees the necessary skills and expertise to make guests Feel Welcome. It also adds to the benefits already given to employees including a bonus structure.
Meanwhile Accor has also confirmed its commitment to finance the planting of 10 million trees by 2021 under its Plant for the Planet programme.
The Plant for the Planet programme is financed by money saved when guests choose to reuse towels rather than send them to be washed, and has funded more than 4.5 million trees to date since its inception in 2009.
In the UK, the programme has funded the planting of over 43,000 trees across 41 farms since 2013. The UK programme also supports sustainable tree planting and agroforestry, focusing on schemes planting trees in smart ways which maximise their impact. Its aim is to cut costs, raise yields and improve the environment, promoting sustainable food production and nurturing links between hotels, guests and farms.
Plant for the Planet has been developed globally in partnership with Pur Projet, an expert in developing community forestation projects. The Woodland Trust manages the programme in the UK, with help from the Soil Association and Organic Research Centre.
Dubaere said, “Plant for the Planet is an important part of our sustainability programme which simultaneously helps to cut our energy and water consumption and supports organic and low-impact farmers. Through our UK agroforestry projects, some of the farmers are literally beginning to see the fruits of their labour with trees planted under the programme now producing apples, for example.”
With the programme’s focus on sustainable farming, the choice of tree is vital to the success of each project. Planting of diverse native tree and hedge species helps in pest, disease and weed control and agrobiodiversity in any given site, therefore supporting the balance of nature.
Plant for the Planet is part of AccorHotels’ Planet 21 sustainable development programme. In five years, the programme has seen Accor cut water consumption by nearly 9%, energy consumption by 5.3% and carbon emissions by 6.2%.