Empress Hotel workers have served strike notice for 8 a.m. on March 7. (Black Press Media file photo)

Empress workers prepare for strike over wages, workload

Nearly 500 Victoria workers in culinary, housekeeping and more serve strike notice

Fairmont Empress Hotel workers will strike this weekend if negotiations over wages, benefits and workload fail.

Unifor Local 4276, which represents nearly 500 Empress workers, served a strike notice for 8 a.m. on March 7.

“The Empress’ owner needs to think again if he thinks we’re going to let him degrade working conditions,” says a statement from Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “You can’t have a first-class hotel without first-class service and first-class working conditions.”

READ ALSO: Victoria’s Empress hotel lifts man’s ban over seagull fiasco

The local is seeking “modest gains in wages, benefits and workload.” It represents Empress workers in the housekeeping, culinary, groundskeeping, serving, guest relations, maintenance and engineering departments.

James Griffin, Local 4276 president says the union is confident it can sign a new collective this week “if the employer stops playing games with concessions.”

“Unifor members at the Empress are committed to the future of this historic hotel, but we’re not prepared to go backwards with our basic working conditions.”

Unifor is the largest union in Canada’s hospitality and gaming sector, representing more than 20,000 members at hotels and casinos across the country.

In a statement, the Fairmont Empress says it received notice to strike late Tuesday evening.

“At this time, our main goal is to continue discussions with Unifor in order to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” says Tracey Drake, the hotel’s director of marketing and public relations. “We are optimistic that the issues which remain can be resolved in an effective and timely manner.”

READ ALSO: Roger the Empress marmot enjoying his 11th year on hotel grounds



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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