Asian Food Worker Frontpage
HEFOI: India's First National Federation for Hotel Workers
On October 3-5, in Goa, more than 60 trade unions representing hotel workers at the enterprise level, met for the founding congress of the Hotel Employees' Federation of India (HEFOI).The congress was jointly opened by the Chief Minister of Goa, the IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary, and the Executive Vice President of the IUF-affiliated UNITE-HERE (the world's largest hotel workers union). Delegates to the congress set in motion key campaign activities to fight for a service charge and stop the massive expansion of contract labour. Following the end of the congress, a rally of delegates was held which proceeded to one of the central tourist areas of Goa. A press release from HEFOI on the congress is below.

A three day delegate conference of HOTEL EMPLOYEES was held at Arpora, Goa from October 3 to 5, 2007. These delegates came from eleven states - Jammu, Jaipur, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka, Kerala, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Goa etc. Many of them belonged to national trade union centers like AITUC, INTUC, CITU, HMS, BMS, TUCC, TNCC, regional unions and independent bodies. Around 145 representatives from 63 unions participated in this founding congress. Creating history they unanimously decided to unite hotel trade unions from every nook and corner of India irrespective of their affiliations in one federation under one banner - HOTEL EMPLOYEES FEDERATION OF INDIA (HEFOI).

(from left) Ma Wei Pin, IUF A/P Regional Secretary; Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister of Goa; Mark Fleischman, Executive Vice President, UNITE-HERE.
The Conference was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Digambar Kamat, who congratulated hotel workers for their decision to come together under one Federation uniting employees belonging to several trade union centers.

The conference brought to light the plight of organized as well as unorganized hotel employees throughout the country. Hotel workers are an exploited lot, their suffering are due to acute contract labour system and outsourcing practiced by the owners, foreign and domestic. The conference has decided to demand on the Government of India to set up a National Commission to study the wages and service conditions prevailing in the hotel industry and make recommendations and suggestions as remedial steps.

The conference felt employees be paid 10% service charges on all services provided by them throughout the country.

Conference wanted inclusion of hotel industry under Chapter V-B of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 to restrain employers from unjust and illegal closures besides dispensing with employees unfairly.

Delegates after delegates spoke about difficulties owing to their employment as seasonal workers in several areas and demanded payment of full wages for them for the whole year. Exploitation of labour in the name of training scheme, fixed term contract scheme, outsourcing, etc. came up and the urgent need to oppose them.

Representatives from hotel trade unions from Australia and U S A also participated in the Conference.

Mr Ma Wei Pin, Regional Secretary, IUF, Asia Pacific, Sydney, made a presentation on HRCT Sector in India and the Organising Challenges before HEFOI.

Mr Jasper Goss of IUF, Sydney, Australia, spoke on Corporate Restructuring and Global Hotel Chains -Implications for Hotel Workers and Unions in India.
Mr Neal Kwatra and Mr Mark Fleischman, Labour Leaders of trade union, UNITE HERE, U S A, spoke on Organising Strategies for Trade Unions.

Presentations were made by Mr. S.S. Upadhyaya (Delhi) on Outsourcing; Mr Subhas Naik Jorge (Goa) on Service Charges; Mr Denzil John (Mumbai) on Contract Labour System in hotel industry; Mr Christopher Fonseca (Goa) on the Necessity of Solidarity Support; Mr. N Vasudevan (Mumbai) on the Need for one strong Federation; Ms. Sujata Gathoskar (Mumbai) on Trade Union Education; Mr. G. R. Shivshankar (Bangalore) on Bargaining with the management using best practices.

The Conference approved the constitution as well as logo of HEFOI.

The following were unanimously elected office bearers and central committee members of HEFOI for the next term:

President :

Mr N Vasudevan (Mumbai)



Vice Presidents                   :

Mr. R Shivsankar (Bangalore)


Mr. S Upadhyaya (New Delhi)


Mr. Christopher Fonseca (Goa)


Mr. S.Krishnamoorthy (Kerala) 



General Secretary

Mr. Franklyn D'Souza (Mumbai)



Deputy General Secretary

Mr. Subhas Naik Jorge (Goa )




Mr. A C Joseph (Kerala)


Mr. Ramdas Govenkar (Goa)


Mr. Jayshankar (Chennai)


Ms. Chanchal Nayyar (New Delhi)


Mr. Martin De Souza (Karnataka)


Mr. Ashok Kumar (New Delhi)



Organising Secretaries

Mr. Denzil John (Mumbai)


Mr. M K Bose (Hyderabad)


Mr. Kumar Swamy (Bangalore)


Mr. Purushottam (Bangalore)


Mr. Deepak Bhalerao (Mumbai)


Mr. K D Vincent (Kerala)


Mr. Succoro De Souza (Goa)


Mr. R K Awasti (Jaipur)


Mr. M K Deepak (Karnataka)


Mr. Rajivan M V (Kerala)


Mr. S P Tiwari (West Bengal)



Mr. Stanley C.C. (Mumba )



Central Committee Members

Mr. Sojan Anthony (Kerala)


Mr. Romi Sharma (NewDelhi)


Mr. Gajanan Divkar (Goa)


Mr. Rafiq Abubakar (Goa)


Mr. Aburaj (Kerala)


Mr. Subhas Rai (Mangalore)


Mr. Vasant Pujari (Bangalore)


Mr. Aju O S (Kerala)


Mr. I Yallappa (Bangalore)

On the concluding day of the Conference, on October 5, a rally of hotel employees was organized from Arpora to Calangute beach where a public meeting was held to announce the launching of HEFOI. Leaders of hotel trade unions from various parts of India and abroad addressed the gathering.