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B.C. hotel union says high percentage of women of colour fired amounts to ‘racism and sexism’

December 10, 2021

By Vancouver Sun |

A 55-year-old immigrant from The Philippines says the Pan Pacific Hotel “should be ashamed” for firing her and 58 other housekeeping and cleaning staff.

Jerty Gaa said she expected to retire from her job working graveyard at the hotel. Instead, she was abruptly terminated last August.

Gaa worked for 11 years at the luxury hotel on the downtown Vancouver waterfront. Since the firings, workers at the hotel have voted to join Unite Here Local 40 , which is negotiating its first collective agreement with the Pan Pacific.

The union has issued a r eport on the firings at the Pan Pacific and other B.C. hotels. The union says that 94 per cent of the 59 female workers at Pan Pacific who were fired are women of colour such as Gaa.

Gaa worked as a public area attendant cleaning and sanitizing public areas, including hallways, common areas, elevators and toilets.

“The Pan Pacific should be ashamed of what they did to us,” Gaa said. “The government gave them more than enough money to help them with whatever problem they’re facing in the pandemic.”

According to Local 40 , the Pan Pacific Hotel is owned and operated by Ocean Pacific Hotels Ltd., an affiliate of Westmont Hospitality Group based in Mississauga.

Postmedia tried to contact A. Majid Mangalji , a director of Ocean Pacific Hotels and founder and president of Westmont, but did not receive a response.

Postmedia reached out to Kit Pui Lee , the vice-president for brand marketing and communications at Pan Pacific Hotels Group in Singapore, but did not receive a reply. The Pan Pacific brand is owned by OCL Group based in Singapore.

Stephanie Fung, communications organizer with Local 40 , described the hotel’s actions as amounting to “corporate greed”, especially after taking millions in pandemic money from public sources in North America.

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