VANCOUVER, Dec. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Just four days before Christmas, cleaners who lost their jobs when Cadillac Fairview moved their work to a cheaper contractor are at the company's Pacific Centre mall today singing Christmas Carols dedicated to the property owner.
They are also filming the whole thing - which will include a visit from Santa Claus, and the "Cadillac Fairview Grinch" - for release on YouTube.
"We're providing a bit of entertainment for the shoppers the last weekend before Christmas - but in a way that lets them know that for these workers, Christmas this year will be very difficult," said Gavin McGarrigle, British Columbia Area Director for Unifor.
The noon-hour flash mob sing-a-long will be released on YouTube later today, and available at www.youtube.com/user/UniforCanada. The words of several holiday favourites were changed to address the cleaners' situation.
The 150 cleaners - members of Unifor Local 3000 - made $12.50 an hour, but lost their jobs in October to a contractor paying as little as $10.50 an hour, with few benefits. A living wage in Vancouver is $19.92 an hour, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
"Cadillac Fairview says it has nothing to do with setting wage rates, even though up to 90 per cent of the value of any cleaning contract is labour," McGarrigle said. "It's the company's decision to change contractors that is driving down wages and cost these cleaners their jobs."
This Christmas, many of the cleaners remain unemployed and have lost their benefits. They, like all cleaners, deserve a living wage, McGarrigle said, something the profitable Cadillac Fairview can easily afford.
The cleaners are asking shoppers to urge Cadillac Fairview to hire the cleaners back at their previous wage and benefit rates.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 300,000 workers. Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 with the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions.
For further information:
For more information, please contact Unifor BC Area Director Gavin McGarrigle (cell) 778-668-6455, or Unifor Communications Staff Representative Stuart Laidlaw (cell) 647-385-4054