Honeymooners sue over Hawaii hotel workers strike

A US couple has filed a class action lawsuit after spending their honeymoon in the midst of a hotel workers strike, with no prior warning from their accommodation.

Dr. Ovais Inamullah and Sana Khalique booked a luxury hotel room at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki for more than $2000 (NZ$2970), but say they weren’t warned about the strike before they arrived for their honeymoon, AP reported.

They arrived on October 29 and found there was no housekeeping, valet parking and other services.

The couple has since filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all other travellers staying at the affected hotels from October 8, when thousands of Marriott employees on Oahu and Maui went on strike.

The affected hotels include the Sheraton Maui, Sheraton Waikiki, Westin Moana Surfrider, the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and The Royal Hawaiian – all owned by Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts and operated by Marriott.

Kiwi tourist Ali Heaney contacted the Herald after she found herself caught up in the industrial action at the Westin Moana Surfrider after travelling to Hawaii for her birthday in October. She was also given no prior warning of the strike by the hotel – and described protesters standing outside the hotels, yelling chants directed at patrons.

The hotel had provided noise-cancelling headphones for guests to use by the pool, she said.

In video provided, a protestor can be heard on a loudspeaker saying “nobody’s cleaning your rooms … unsanitary”.

Another Kiwi tourist, Adam Borich, also stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider and said that despite paying $600 a night for his room, there had been no communication from Marriott prior to his arrival.

Drums and dancing in front of the @MoanaSurfrider. 2700+ #Hawaii @Marriott workers are on strike because one job should be enough! #1job #MarriottStrike pic.twitter.com/Gxr09zHwnX

He described his stay as “an utterly awful experience”.

“Simply trying to walk through them into the hotel, I was shoulder charged by three of them and yelled at to ‘go home…we have the power’.”

The strike began after Local 5 union leaders said management hasn’t agreed to a demand that workers to be paid enough so they only need one job to support themselves.

reported that the union and Kyo-ya have been unable to reach an agreement, as the strike enters its second month.

AP reported that tourism officials were worried the industrial action in Hawaii could continue into next year, affecting hotel bookings.

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