For Immediate Release – August 23, 2020
Hunger Strikers to Move from BC Legislature to Maple Ridge office of Tourism Minister
Vancouver, BC – As they enter the third week of their hunger strike, fasting hotel workers plan to move their encampment from the lawn of the BC Legislature to the Maple Ridge office of Tourism Minister Lisa Beare. Laid-off workers are awaiting a decision from the province that could affect up to 50,000 hotel workers across B.C. A provincial review of recall protections for workers concluded on August 20, but the province has not announced a decision on the matter.
Fasters and community supporters will move their hunger strike to Minister Beare’s office in Maple Ridge the morning of Thursday, August 27, and will hold a demonstration that afternoon. Until then, fasters will remain at the BC Legislature and will send delegations to meet with South Island MLAs.
The province has said any decision regarding recall protections for laid-off hotel workers may come after a provincial review of the issue. Hunger strikers are urging the province to enact changes which grant workers, laid-off due to the pandemic, a right to return to their jobs as business recovers. Hotel employers have used the pandemic as an excuse for mass terminations of laid-off staff and can replace them for less when the industry recovers. This comes as the tourism sector is calling on the province for a $680 million bailout.
“Every day that goes by without action by the province, more hotels will use the pandemic as an excuse to fire their workers,” said Nym Calvez, a hotel room attendant and organizer of the hunger strike.