Press Release: ‘Santa Claus’ joins striking hotel workers on picket line

Pacific Gateway Hotel workers have been on strike for 592 days

Vancouver, BC — ‘Santa Claus’ joined striking Pacific Gateway workers at a demonstration held by dozens of protestors in front of the hotel yesterday. Santa led the procession of picketers in a noisy protest over management’s treatment of workers and to mark what will soon be strikers’ second Christmas on the picket line. Workers struck after management terminated 143 of their co-workers and demanded deep economic concessions during the height of the pandemic last year.

Hotel owner, PHI Hotel Group, has refused to return terminated workers to their jobs as tourism rebounds. Most of the affected workers are women who served the hotel for years. This stands in stark contrast to other Metro Vancouver hotel employers who agreed to return laid off staff to their jobs to welcome visitors back.

Pacific Gateway received millions from the federal government to be used as a federal quarantine site until last January. A Globe and Mail article about “wretched” conditions at quarantine hotels cited traveller complaints at Pacific Gateway before the government pulled out of the hotel.

The hotel, which will be rebranded a Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport in the new year, is currently under boycott. The boycott has been endorsed by the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress. Earlier this year, Richmond City Council adopted a resolution that the city will not do business with the hotel until the owner resolves the dispute with workers. The workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 40.

“Until the owner agrees to bring us all back and negotiate a fair contract, customers should continue to boycott the rebranded Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport hotel. No matter how long it takes, we will continue to stand up for justice. PHI Hotel Group cannot hide behind a name change,” said Pardeep Thandi, a hotel housekeeper who worked at the hotel for 27 years.

Media Contact: Michelle Travis,, 778-960-9785.