New York hotel maids to be given 'panic buttons'
Large New York hotels plan to equip their housekeepers and staff with portable alarms so they get help quickly in case of trouble, officials said Wednesday.
Any staff member who must enter guests rooms, such as maids, waiters and mini-bar attendants, will be given the "panic buttons" within the next year, said Lisa Linden, spokeswoman for the Hotel Association of New York.
She declined to link the electronic alarms to the case of French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief who was accused of sexually assaulting maid, Nafissatou Diallo, at the Sofitel in New York in May. The charges against him were eventually dropped.
"It has been under discussion for some time," Linden said.
The devices were included as a requirement in a new seven-year contract between the Hotel Association of New York and its unions.
The contract provision says the employees must be given "devices to be carried on their persons at work, which they can quickly and easily activate to summon prompt assistance to their location."
The Association's board of directors approved the contract unanimously on February 3. The union membership is expected to ratify it next Monday.
© 2012 AFP