Special Investigating Officer will randomly inspect hotel under consent order
Richmond, BC — The BC Labour Relations Board has issued a pair of consent orders declaring Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport breached the Labour Code again during a protracted strike by members of UNITE HERE Local 40. Under the orders, the employer admitted to over a dozen breaches of the Code. This follows an earlier consent order issued by the Board in July in which the employer admitted to using impermissible replacement workers during the strike.
Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport hotel (formerly Pacific Gateway) re-opened to the public this summer despite an ongoing labour dispute and only a skeleton crew to operate the hotel. Under the consent award granted on September 19, the employer, an affiliate of PHI Hotel Group, admitted to violating the law when it used contractors and other impermissible workers to conduct fire rounds, move and assemble furniture and setup guest rooms to prepare the hotel for customers, undertake repairs, and clean rooms, floor hallways, and The Deck following renovations.
Under the second consent award issued September 21, the Board declared hotel management breached the Labour Code when they assigned certain front desk duties to impermissible workers and in greater portion than would have been assigned before the strike; when the hotel used new managers to illegally backfill for senior managers so they could perform bargaining unit work; and continued to use third parties to perform routine maintenance tasks.
In a new development, the Board ordered a Special Investigating Officer to randomly inspect the hotel and investigate the work being performed there. The Board ordered the employer to cease and desist from using impermissible replacement workers and contractors to perform union work at the hotel, or to assign a greater proportion of struck work to managers than before the strike, and ordered the hotel to provide the Union with advance notice of any contractor operating in rooms available for rental, and to disclose which tasks are to be performed and an explanation of why it is needed.
In BC, it is illegal for employers to hire replacement workers during a strike.
Workers at the property have been on strike for over two years. They struck after the employer terminated 143 long-term workers – mostly women – during the pandemic and demanded drastic concessions from remaining workers. Strikers have picketed the hotel daily since May 3, 2021
Radisson Blu Vancouver Airport is operated by PHI Hotel Group and majority owned by Sukhminder Rai. Mr. Rai and 10 of his affiliated companies are currently under investigation for allegations of fraud and misappropriation of $16 million of public funds. His partners in three Alberta hotels have filed a lawsuit against Mr. Rai; those hotels were put into receivership last month.
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