Fairmont Empress Hotel workers set stage for strike, demand better working conditions

Courtesy of the Fairmont Empress.
Unifor members at the Empress Hotel are prioritizing wages and housekeeping workloads.

Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel is at risk of facing disruption as job action looms.

Unifor’s Local 4276 voted 97 per cent in favour of striking Friday if a collective agreement isn’t reached in the upcoming negotiations with the staff’s current employer, Bosa Developments.

No strike deadline has been set, but a 72-hour notice looms over the popular tourist destination if a collective agreement cannot be reached in next Friday’s negotiation over a new collective agreement.

Gavin McGarrigle, the Western Regional Director for Unifor, says that current employees know the offer on the table doesn’t address the rising cost of living.

“Housekeepers are reporting a real fear of injury, and workloads that are unsustainable,” McGarrigle said in an interview with CHEK.

Unifor members at the Empress Hotel are prioritizing wages and housekeeping workloads.

According to a study conducted by the union itself, the employees at the Empress Hotel, who are predominantly women and people of colour, are often afraid to report injuries or ask for assistance, which can result from an unrealistic workload they commonly face.

McGarrigle says Unifor represents 400 members at the hotel and believes that if full strike action took place it would result in the full shutdown of the hotel.

“It would be almost impossible to operate a facility that size,” he added.

The Fairmont Empress hotel is considered by many to be Victoria’s crown jewel and has hosted a myriad of notable guests over the year, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The hotel is presently managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and was bought by Nat and Flora Bosa in 2014.

CHEK has reached out to both Local 4267 and Bosa Group for comment and will update this article accordingly.

RELATED: Benedict Cumberbatch’s reading of Empress Hotel ‘seagull incident’ apology soars back into spotlight

Roger Collins

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!