For immediate release
June 24, 2010
Paul Clifford, President of UNITE HERE Local 75 at 416-801-7508
Valerie Dugale, Communications at 647-225-3685
TORONTO– As of 6:30 am this morning, hotel workers at the Novotel Toronto Centre have gone on strike just as members of the G20 French delegation arrive at the hotel, which is run by the French company Accor.
“We’re a small group of workers who are just trying to maintain decent jobs with this global giant,” said Rik Hockley, a Banquet Server and member of the bargaining committee at the Novotel Toronto Centre. Approximately 80 workers have walked off the job after hotel management walked away from negotiations on Tuesday without even addressing an offer put on the table by UNITE HERE, the union that represents hotel workers.
“Their shameful conduct in these negotiations is apparent for the world to see, “says Paul Clifford, President of UNITE HERE Local 75. “After sitting on our proposal for a month, they finally tabled their first and only proposal on Tuesday and then walked out the door at 5:00 pm. That is not collective bargaining by anyone’s definition. The labour dispute at this hotel is entirely due to Accor’s heavy handed bungling of negotiations."
The hotel workers will be wearing red and blue scarves like the fans of Les Bleus, the French soccer team, which brought shame to France at the World Cup just like Accor is doing at the G20. Hundreds of workers from right across the city will join them on the picket line later this afternoon. Along with music and vuvuzelas (African horns), a giant inflatable rat will hover over the picket line as a symbol of Novotel’s refusal to negotiate good jobs that would contribute to the economic recovery.
Today’s activities will include:
DATE: Thursday June 24, 2010
LOCATION: Novotel Toronto Centre, Picket line at 45 The Esplanade
TIME: 2:30 pm- Media conference with hotel workers negotiating
committee, 4:30/5:00 pm- Hundreds rally in support of striking workers
One of the world’s largest hotel companies, Paris-based Accor had been known as a pro-worker company in Europe. Recently however, troubles have arisen even in France where Accor has traditionally had a good relationship with unions. Local 75 represents over 7000 hotel, hospitality and gaming workers in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, please visit www.uniteherelocal75.org.