Vancouver cleaners told $12.65 wage too much 0
Ranjit Rai said 150 of her co-workers will have to look for work at the end of October and are holding protest Wednesday trying to save their jobs. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Every afternoon Ranjit Rai heads down to the Waterfront Centre — where a quarter will get you three minutes of parking at a public meter — to clean up and perform maintenance so people can use a spotless facility for work and shopping.
Most of Rai's co-workers pay for a three-zone SkyTrain pass to get to work from Surrey to clean the building for $12.65 an hour plus benefits.
But the owner of the building says Rai and her co-workers are overpaid and has decided to dump the company she works for in favour of one that will do the job cheaper. The cuts means 150 building cleaners will be out of a job.
“How will they survive?” asked Rai, shop steward for Unifor Local 3000, which represents the workers. “If we go somewhere else, they will give us minimum wage.”
Cadillac Fairview, owner of Waterfront and Pacific Centre where the workers clean, is going ahead with its plan to contract out the job to a cheaper outfit after years of using Servantage.
Rai said the workers are mostly immigrant women who have decided to stage a protest Wednesday afternoon at the Olympic torch, across from the Waterfront Centre, in a bid to save their jobs.
Gavin McGarrigle, spokesman for the workers, said the company was told the contract would not be renewed and the service it received was not an issue.
“The new contractors are paying less than that amount of money,” said McGarrigle. “We just found out in early September and we’ve been working behind the scenes to change their minds and we haven’t been successful.”
McGarrigle said the difference would amount to pennies per square foot in either of the tony buildings.
He said Wednesday’s protest is not just about the workers in his company, but part of a push to increase wages for cleaners all across Vancouver.
Cadillac Fairview did not respond to attempts made to contact it by press time Wednesday.