Laid-off hotel workers will be protesting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, July 7, to demand a right to go back to work. (Black Press Media file photo)

Laid-off hotel workers demanding the right to return to work at Victoria protest

Businesses in accommodation and food sector report laying off 80 per cent of workforce

Laid-off hotel workers and their allies from Greater Victoria and the Lower Mainland are planning to hold a demonstration at the B.C. Parliament Buildings on Tuesday afternoon to fight for a right to return to work.

Members of Unite Here Local 40 will be in front of the parliament buildings at noon with plans to chant and speak with signs, banners and bullhorns while wearing masks and physically distancing.

According to the group, they will be demanding that laid-off hotel workers have a “legal right to return to work as businesses reopen.”

READ ALSO: Some businesses have seen revenues slashed by more than 70 per cent

“While the province helped businesses delay severance payouts, they have not guaranteed laid-off workers a legal right to return to work,” a statement from Unite Here Local 40 said.

Statistics Canada figures released in May show more than half of all businesses say their revenues have dropped 20 per cent or more, with some businesses recording declines of more than 70 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Industries including accommodation and food services saw a decline of 72.6 per cent in revenue according to Statistics Canada. Almost 70 per cent of businesses in the same sector have reported layoffs of 80 per cent or more of their workforce.

READ ALSO: B.C. extends temporary layoff period to 24 weeks due to COVID-19 pandemic

On June 25, the province announced it had extended how long companies can temporarily lay off workers due to the pandemic. A news release from the labour ministry said the temporary layoff period was being extended to 24 weeks, up from 16 weeks declared in early May. The extension means the temporary program would expire at about the same time as the CERB, which was extended by the same time period in early June.

With files from Wolf Depner and Katya Slepian

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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