Saturday, February 24, 2024

Fairmont Empress Hotel workers vote to strike for better working conditions

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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. 

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