Over 100 workers prepare to strike one of Victoria’s premier hotels
Victoria – Inn at Laurel Point workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, issued 72-hour strike notice to management late yesterday. Workers will be in a legal strike position as of 3pm Sunday afternoon. This comes after workers voted 97% in favour of strike on Monday. Picket lines could go up at the high-end harbourfront hotel next week as the busy travel season restarts.
Workers are seeking a living wage to make hotel jobs sustainable and to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of rent and groceries in Victoria. Business at Inn at Laurel Point is bustling, yet staff are falling behind in wages. Workers are juggling heavy workloads in order to provide the 4-star service that the guests expect.
“I want to feel valued and be paid what I’m worth. I’ve committed 21 years to this hotel because I enjoy working with guests, but I don’t feel respected by management. We’ve tried working with management for nearly two years, but they don’t seem to care. They’re spending money on renovations and branding but not investing in our staff who deliver top notch service,” said Harj Aheer, front desk agent at the Inn.
Although the Inn at Laurel Point promotes itself as a social enterprise focused on the well-being of people and the surrounding community, workers have spent nearly two years at the bargaining table and attempts at mediation. Management refuses to adequately address workers’ need for cost-of-living increases. The Inn undertook a $10 million renovation recently and has plans for future renovations and expansion. Pay for most hotel staff falls short of Victoria’s living wage of $24.29.
“I’m currently working 3 jobs to support my children and pay rent. I didn’t have to work multiple jobs 10 years ago, but today, I’m living paycheque to paycheque. A living wage would make it easier for my family to save for our future. I need this job to be sustainable for me, and my children,” said Aaron Walters, a server at Inn at Laurel Point’s Aura Restaurant
Media Contact: Sharan Pawa, 604-710-1693, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNITE HERE Local 40 is BC’s hospitality workers’ union and represents members in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Learn more at UniteHereLocal40.org.