On Friday, staff at the Fairmont Empress Hotel voted 97% in favour of going on a strike after a lack of progress was met between staff and their employers.
While a date has not been set for a strike, Friday’s vote confirms that hotel workers will walk out if an agreement can’t be met.
Unifor said the main issues for a strike are to improve wages and better management of housekeeping workloads.
“The Fairmont Empress is a top-tier hotel and its workers deserve respect and fair compensation. It is a leader in the industry and we expect the collective agreement to lead the way,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President.
“The employer must come to the table prepared to bargain a fair contract that reflects the critical contribution of hotel workers.”
According to a BC tourism and hospitality study published by Qatalyst Research Group, hotels across the province have struggled to maintain staff retention since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through staff cuts and layoffs, for every 1.6 permanent employees, one was laid off, and of those laid off, roughly one-third did not return.
As of 2023, Unifor Local 4276 represents over 400 employees including housekeepers, kitchen staff and maintenance workers. If a strike is to occur, the union will be required to give 72 hours notice of job action.
B.C. has built a world-renowned tourism industry around a solid hospitality sector led by facilities like the @FairmontEmpress. A fair contract will ensure hotel workers at a key site in #yyj will earn a fair wage and improve workplace health and safety https://t.co/J454gJmE0D
— Gavin McGarrigle (@gavinmcgarrigle) March 25, 2023