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Empress hotel workers reach tentative contract deal, avoiding planned strike

The historic Empress hotel in downtown Victoria, B.C. is shown on Jan. 16, 2012. Staff served strike notice at the Fairmont Empress, a well-known hotel and landmark in Victoria. A statement from Unifor Local 4276 says almost 500 workers are affected in several departments from guest relations, housekeeping and culinary to groundskeeping and maintenance. Strike notice expires at 8 a.m. Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Workers at the landmark Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria have reached a tentative agreement with their employer, averting a strike that was planned to start Saturday morning.

The union representing nearly 500 workers in housekeeping, grounds keeping, maintenance and other sectors said in a statement Friday that members will vote on ratifying the agreement next week.

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“The bargaining committee successfully fought back concessions and achieved many of our goals for a new contract,” Unifor Local 4276 president James Griffin said in a statement.

The details of the agreement have not been released, but the union said more information would be released following the ratification vote.

On Tuesday, the union had served notice that it planned to strike at 8 a.m. Saturday after bargaining broke down.

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Workers had been seeking what the union called “modest” gains in wages, benefits and workload.

The most recent contract agreement between the union and their employer expired on Sunday.

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