Developers Nat and Flora Bosa have purchased the iconic hotel in Victoria Habour. The ivy-clad landmark, named after Queen Victoria, opened in 1908. It captures the elegance of a bygone era and was designed by Francis Rattenburty, the same English architect who designed the B.C. Legislative buildings. The hotel will continue to be managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. (Pictures courtesy of Fairmont)

Workers have served strike notice at the Fairmont Empress, a well-known landmark hotel in Victoria.

A statement from Unifor Local 4276 says it represents almost 500 workers in several departments from housekeeping to groundskeeping.

The strike notice expires at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The union says it is seeking modest gains in wages, benefits, and workload and blames concession demands from the company for the impasse.

Tracey Drake, the hotel's director of marketing and public relations, says in an email the “main goal” is to continue negotiations and she is optimistic that the remaining issues can be resolved in “an effective and timely manner.”

Unifor national president Jerry Dias says the chain “can't have a first-class hotel without first-class service and first-class working conditions.”

James Griffin, Local 4276 president, says the bargaining committee is confident a new contract can be reached this week, if the hotel drops concession demands.

“Unifor members at the Empress are committed to the future of this historic hotel, but we're not prepared to go backwards with our basic working conditions,” Griffin says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2020