Right now, 10 hotel workers are camped in front of the provincial legislature and they're not eating. The B.C. workers on hunger strike won't quit until the government listens to their demands. After suffering tens of thousands of layoffs, the workers want their jobs back.

"If they don't have jobs to go back to, they're going to be struggling to pay rent, to put food on the table, to support their families," said Stephanie Fung, member of the organizing Unite Here Local 40 Union, to Narcity.

And, with the end of CERB and bill payments looming, thousands of hospitality workers will be stuck in a very sticky situation.

The protest officially began on Monday, August 10, on the steps of the B.C. legislature. There are currently 10 people fasting on the lawn, where they'll remain until the government pays attention.

Fung said 50,000 workers were laid off over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the province has since reopened its businesses, only 10 to 15% of hotel staff were called back to work.

"We're predicting as the weeks go by, there's going to be more border closures, more travel restrictions. We're experiencing a second wave so more jobs will be lost," she said.

Fung added that some hotels have been using the pandemic as "an excuse" to fire workers and hire new staff for lower wages.

"Some hotels haven't been doing the right thing, so that's why we need the government to step in and protect these hotel workers," she said.

The hunger strike serves as a "very symbolic action" for what thousands of workers will have to go through or are currently facing, said Fung.

"Families could starve. People are worried when their next meal will be. If the government doesn't act quickly then more people will lose their jobs."

The union has since published a petition for locals in B.C. to support the fasting workers, writing that it's "unconscionable" for the province to consider bailing out its tourism industry for $680 million without guaranteeing jobs for its many workers.

As bill deadlines approach and federal aid winds to a close, the clock is ticking for thousands across B.C.

Comments are now closed.
Account Settings
Share Feedback
Log Out

Register this device to receive push notifications