Workers at a popular waterfront hotel in Victoria’s inner harbour issued a 72-hour strike notice Friday.
Talks between Unite Here Local 40, the union representing the employees at the Inn at Laurel Point, and its management are scheduled to take place May 2.
At least 100 workers are ready to walk off the job if a deal cannot be struck.
Employees are hoping to secure a living wage and better working conditions.
It’s been two years of back-and-forth negotiations between the employer and union without a contract being reached.
“If we do go through with the strike, all of the hotel workers would be out of the hotel,” said Sharan Pawa, a spokesperson for Unite Here Local 40.
“There would be no room service, kitchen, food, beverage, all services, all amenities of the hotel, would be bare bones, workers would be out and management would be left in the building. And that’s about it. So it would not be a very nice place to stay.”
She says the striking is a last resort — especially since the busy season is rapidly approaching.
“The workers really, to be honest, don’t want to go on strike. They want to keep working and continue providing their service, especially since Victoria is getting more and more busy now, as the summer season is coming up. But they don’t want to keep working for less than a living wage,” she added.
Pawa says workers are fed up after finding out the hotel has put upwards of $10 million into recent renovations, but still won’t compensate workers with a living wage. One employee she knows of from the hotel’s restaurant now has three jobs in his efforts to stay financially afloat.
“One job should be enough. This is a four-star hotel,” Pawa said.
“The hotel industry is booming. They are making profit, they are making money and the hotel workers are falling behind. They are asking for a living wage. As many people know, rent is going up groceries are going up and hotel workers are working hard every single day welcoming guests to our province.”
CHEK has reached out to the hotel for comment, but has not heard back.
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The cost of living is skyrocketing & Inn at Laurel Point workers need a living wage! Send a message to hotel management: https://t.co/NuxZUVkosK #bclab #canlab #victoria #britishcolumbia #canada #unionstrong #union #workersrights #inequality #fairpay #workersunite #victoriacanada pic.twitter.com/QbHmwjMlYw
— Unite Here Local 40 (@UniteHere40) April 25, 2023
A similar situation unfolded earlier this year at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel, when workers threatened to strike over unfair working conditions and wages.
Unifor members at the Empress managed to ratify their contract with the employer on April 12.
Their negotiations saw a three-year collective agreement be made, with a wage increase of 14.5 per cent over said term. It also included a cost of living adjustment and an additional 1.5 per cent increase in the third year. The new contract also managed to guarantee a more reasonable workload for employees with mandatory breaks.