Laid off hotel workers demonstrate outside the office of Tourism Minister Lisa Beare in Maple Ridge on Aug. 27, 2020. At the mic is Vancouver city Coun. Jean Swanson. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Laid-off hotel workers bring protest to B.C. tourism minister’s office

Fasting union members will be outside Lisa Beare’s office indefinitely

Thursday afternoon laid off hotel workers were demonstrating outside Tourism Minister Lisa Beare’s office in Maple Ridge, saying government must protect their jobs.

The members of the Unite Here Local 40 union shouted slogans like “Hey, hey Minister Beare, help these workers in despair.” They carried placards reading “Put workers first in any industry bailout” and “Hire me back!”

They are fasting for a commitment from the government to protect 50,000 hotel jobs, and will have an encampment outside the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA’s office on the Lougheed Highway, at the junction with Dewdney Trunk Road. They will demonstrate there indefinitely, said Michelle Travis, a union spokesperson.

She noted the the province is considering the tourism industry’s request for a $680 million bailout, but some businesses are firing their long-term, laid-off staff.

The hunger strikers are awaiting a decision from the province that could affect up to 50,000 hotel workers across B.C. She noted a provincial review of recall protections for hotel workers concluded on Aug. 20, but the province has not announced a decision on the matter. Hotel workers have been fasting on the lawn of the BC Legislature since Aug. 10.

READ ALSO: Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

“I don’t know what to expect,” said Travis of the looming decision. “But we’re making sure they don’t forget there is a crisis.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for the hospitality industry, she said, with cruise ships no longer sailing, and the border closed to visitors causing huge impacts.

One of the speakers at the demonstration was Rev. Allen Aiken of Maple Ridge, who expressed support and blessings for the workers.

They should insist “workers deserve the legal right to return to their jobs,” he said.

Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson was also there to support the workers, and from the podium said an NDP government should stick up for workers.

Beare did not appear to be at the constituency office, which was locked. There was no response to knocks on the door.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusLabourMaple Ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read