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Employees walk off the job at popular B.C. resort

The union say 230 employees are striking over wages.
More than 200 Harrison Hot Springs Resort workers walked off the job as part of a strike action on July 5, 2024.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa employees have walked off the job as part of a three-day strike action.

On Friday, 230 union workers from the popular B.C. resort set up picket lines at 7 a.m. during a busy summer weekend.

UNITE HERE Local 40 says the strike action comes after bargaining broke on Thursday afternoon with little progress. Workers are striking for fair wages and a reversal of concessions made during the pandemic, according to the union. 

Union spokesperson Michelle Travis says the strike results from years of pent-up frustration. She's hopeful it will send a strong message to the employer.

“We encourage the employer to take their bargaining seriously to address a number of issues that they brought forward, including wages, but also dealing with some of the concessions that they put in place and making sure those don't become permanent,” she says.

Harrison Hot Springs Resort is owned by Aldesta Hotel Group, a subsidiary of Salience Global Holdings. Aldesta Hotels and Resorts also owns Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, luxury waterfront resorts, and two islands along the Great Barrier Reef.

Glacier Media has reached out to the company for comment but has not heard back.

According to the union, the resort has "rebounded" since the pandemic but there are fewer staff.

“That means the workload has really increased … and they will be short-staffed,” says Travis. “There is not enough staff to go in and clean the rooms and that has been frustrating for the workers.”

The union says staff want "good paying jobs" with decent benefits and have staffing levels that allow them to service guests the way they expect to be.

"I think the main source of frustration that the Harrison Hot Springs Resort workers have really felt is that they didn't feel like that there's been real investment in making sure that these are good quality jobs,” she says.

The union understands the strike will impact guests over a busy summer weekend.

“We really have to see what happens after this,” says Travis. “The hope would be that at some point we would be able to return back to the bargaining table to dig into those issues.”

The strike action will end on Sunday night with employees returning back to work on Monday.

As of Friday morning, the resort was sold out for the Friday night. There is a three-night minimum stay during the summer.

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