After a year-and-a-half of negotiations, food service workers at the Victoria International Airport have reached an agreement with employer Compass Group Canada, ratifying a new contract.
Since June 2017, workers employed at a number of food service outlets in the airport have been in discussions asking for better wages, job security and more staff to balance workloads.
In a release, UNITE HERE Local 40 said employees of White Spot, Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Spinnakers on the Fly will receive “significant raises of up to 24 per cent” over the term of the new agreement and will also receive retroactive bonuses.
Those workers who do not receive gratuities “will soon reach $15 per hour by June.”
UNITE HERE Local 40 noted the increase is “well ahead” of the province’s scheduled minimum wage increases and is ahead of other concession workers at competing airports like Vancouver International.
“The new agreement also establishes the first ever pension for food workers at YYJ and includes critical workload protections that will tackle understaffing,” the release reads.
“For too long, I have felt that my work here at the airport was undervalued,” said Karlene Kipling, a cook at Spinnakers on the Fly. “The wage increases and benefits we will receive with this new contract are starting to change that so that I can afford to stay here and do the work that I love.”
Workers engaged in two demonstrations in July and November, backed by the union, elected officials, community groups and passengers from across the region.
Because Compass has a limited term agreement with the Victoria Airport Authority, workers expressed concern as to whether they would remain employed upon the completion of that contract.
According to the release, the next contract will expire in 2020, but contracted workers “will continue to press the Victoria Airport Authority and the province to address contract flipping at airports and other institutions in B.C.”