– Hotel Worker, Toronto
Regilyn Malaguit works at an upscale hotel beside the Air Canada Centre. She has been working as a cleaner in Canada for 8 years. Beafore this she has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines where she earned her Bachelor of Science in forestry. She is a shop steward at her workplace.
How has Covid-19 affected your workplace?
Most of us have been laid off because the hotel has had only about 5 guests. When there are no rooms to clean there is no pay for hotel workers. God knows how long the hotel will be like this. You can’t force the guests to come to the hotel, they are scared. Only one co-worker is still there out of 22 cleaners. We have been put on-call, not laid off due to covid-19, so we are still scheduled but are getting no hours. We have had questions about how this affects applying for E.I. and other help.
What should I say?
It’s complicated for who can and who can’t go for benefits. Right now they are only for those who are sick, but how about me? I’m not sick but I have no job. They are giving more money to big Companies but not me who is a nobody to them, I guess.
Employment Insurance provides 55% of your wages right now. Do you think that’s enough?
No because we have so many bills, the mortgage, rent, family to feed; do we go to a food bank? The food banks are full right now. Maybe 80% I would feel better than 55%. We can’t save extra money for calamities like this one.
What do you think this emergency says about respect when it comes to cleaners?
I feel since I am a cleaner I am disposable. You’re nobody, you can get sick and be nothing. I’m still a wife, still a mother, still a daughter. With all that’s going on there’s still no respect. If we were respected they’d treat us better, give us—basically we are the lowest of the food chain. We don’t make 100,000 a year, no cleaner is on the sunshine list.