Nearly 90 per cent of hospitality workers will lose jobs because of COVID-19 pandemic, union predicts
Red wine is poured into a glass in this file photo. (Instants / Istock.com)
TORONTO -- The union representing more than 18,000 hospitality workers in Canada is calling on the federal and provincial governments to take immediate action for its members.
Zailda Chan, president of UNITE HERE Local 40 in Vancouver, told reporters in a teleconference that she believes 90 per cent of hospitality workers in this country will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The union is asking for the government to provide 80 per cent wage replacement immediately, including tips.
They're also asking that hospitality workers be including in any relief package being envisioned by provincial and federal officials.
The union said they also want their members to be given proper health and safety training to run hotels that may be taken over by hospitals and governments. The move has been considered in several major cities, in order to free up beds in hospitals.
The union said workers, who perform jobs such as cleaning rooms, preparing and serving food, and carrying luggage, should also have a choice as to whether or not they would like to work in potentially dangerous conditions should their hotel house hospital patients.
Ian Robb, the Canadian Director of UNITE HERE, said he expects the hospitality industry to be one of the last industries that will return to normal, following the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He wants provincial and federal leaders to provide immediate financial supports to hospitality workers who now face uncertainty as to if and when their jobs will return.