Canadian hotel workers protest against Lufthansa crew
Arriving in Vancouver on May 13, Lufthansa crew members found themselves caught in the midst of a labor dispute, encountering hotel strikers outside their stopover accommodation. The airline crew were specifically targeted by unionized hotel workers, with demands not to cross their picket line at the hotel.
Caught in a labor dispute
After landing in Vancouver after flying for about 10 hours from Frankfurt, the Lufthansa crew were “greeted” by locked-out workers at the Hilton Metrotown hotel outside the airport.
A union representative told Simple Flying that unionized Lufthansa flight crews stay at this hotel when passing through Vancouver International Airport. On its website, the workers’ union known as Unite Here Local 40 said the following when describing the May 13 event plan:
“While major unions and Burnaby City Council have pledged not to frequent the hotel until it reinstates its employees, Lufthansa flight crew members continue to cross the line. picket line staying at Hilton Metrotown. Hotel employees enter week 5 of lockout. “
Armed with protest signs in German, workers waited outside YVR’s main terminal, hoping to meet Lufthansa airline staff. In addition to signage, leaflets were distributed, with requests not to stay at the hotel. By persuading Lufthansa to house its employees at another facility, the union and its employees hope to put further pressure on the hotel to restore jobs.
the Unite Here Local 40 A representative told Simple Flying the situation has since worsened, saying a bus carrying Lufthansa crew through the picket line injured a protester outside the hotel on Saturday.
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Claims against the Hilton Metrotown hotel
The Hilton Metrotown hotel, located in the city of Burnaby (adjacent to the city of Vancouver), is charged with the following:
Labor Day was the best weekend for airlines in a long time
- Lockdown of workers last month after laying off 97 workers.
- Cut nearly 50 of the employment insurance benefits of its workers made redundant after their lockout (according to Richmond News).
- Refuse to commit to restoring long-tenured workers’ jobs once the business takes over.
We move the #HiltonMetrotown picket line at the airport! 💥🔥 Yesterday, workers sent flyers to Lufthansa airline crew members as they boarded from YVR airport to hotel. @Lufthansa been crossing the picket line for weeks, it’s time to go! #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/Xrpwizmh09
– Unite Here Local 40 #BCUnequalWomen (@ UniteHere40) May 15, 2021
“I am deeply hurt and angry that Hilton Metrotown has interrupted our [Employment Insurance]. I only worked a few shifts, and [Employment Insurance] it still wasn’t enough to make ends meet during the time I was laid off… First you firefighters, then you lock us out. Now you are cutting our government legal aid. “ – Kelsey Paul, Police Bureau Officer, Hilton Metrotown
In addition to the job cuts, the hotel is accused of not having enough staff to safely clean the 283-room facility. As such, the union reported the hotel to the provincial labor authorities.
Of course, besides airlines and airports, hotels have been hit hard by the global health crisis. With both international and inter-provincial travel restrictions in place across much of Canada, the hospitality industry has little choice but to lay off staff.
Simple Flying has contacted the Lufthansa Group and the Hilton Metrotown hotel for an official statement on the matter. At the time of publication, no response has been received.
Do you think Lufthansa should accommodate its crew at another hotel due to the dispute? Let us know in the comments.