LNG Canada hospitality team votes in favour of strike
The workers say their wages have stagnated while tradespeople have have seen major increases.
LNG Canada’s Cedar Valley Lodge can house around 5,000 workers. – LNG Canada
- The 450 workers include housekeepers, kitchen staff, janitors, lounge servers, guest service agents and maintenance.
- Some Lodge workers are making $5 per hour less than they earned in the same positions at the Kitimat Modernization Project 8 years ago.
- The project is close to 85% complete and remains on track to ship its first cargo by mid-decade.
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Hospitality workers at Canada’s largest construction project have voted to go on strike.
Last week, Sodexo hospitality workers at LNG Canada’s Cedar Valley Lodge in Kitimat., B.C. voted 97% in favour of strike action.
Union officials stated that workers are frustrated with little movement by management in bargaining to address cost of living concerns.
“Cedar Valley Lodge is the only accommodation facility in Kitimat large enough to house workers for the LNG Canada project,” said officials with UNITE HERE Local 40 in a press release. “Usually accommodating up to 5,000 camp workers, a strike at the worksite could cause significant disruption to pipeline work.”
The union added that Sodexo Cedar Valley Lodge hospitality workers are the lowest compensated workers at the LNG Canada construction site. The poly-party vote was conducted by UNITE HERE Local 40 and IBEW Local 993. The workers are asking for “significant economic improvements” that will allow them to keep up with the rising cost of living.
The 450 workers – including housekeepers, kitchen staff, janitors, lounge servers, guest service agents, and maintenance – unionized with UNITE HERE Local 40 and IBEW on April 12.
According to UNITE HERE, BC Building Trades workers at the LNG Canada camp received a 12.5% wage increase in 2022, and by the end of October 2023 will receive an additional 10% increase.
Sodexo hospitality workers at Cedar Valley Lodge were not included in these increases. Some Lodge workers are making $5 per hour less than they earned in the same positions at the Kitimat Modernization Project 8 years ago.
“Cedar Valley Lodge workers are being treated unfairly. We deserve fair pay for the work we do – not to be the lowest paid people at the LNG Canada camp,” said Mike Lightheart, a first cook who has worked at Cedar Valley Lodge for 3 years. “With families to support, we need to be able to keep up with our bills. We will not be disrespected anymore, and we are ready to strike if we do not receive a fair proposal.”
Mediation between the Union and the employer began Monday at the BC Labour Board.
The massive LNG terminal facility is being built on the former Methanex facility site. It will include a gas liquefaction plant, storage tanks, a marine terminal and a rail yard.
Water treatment facility and flare stacks will also be constructed on the site. JGC Corp and Flour Corp have been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract.
The project has been approved under the Environmental Assessment Act, and by the National Energy Board (NEB) for a 40-year export license to replace the current 25-year license. A final investment decision was approved in October 2018 to go ahead with the project.
Earlier this month, LNG Canada officials announced the project is close to 85% complete overall and remains on track to ship its first cargo by mid-decade.