Ilikai Workers Protest, Claim Problems Plague Hotel

Gina Puehsc
Gina Puehsc
Joli Tokusato
Joli Tokusato
Mansoorali Verjee
Mansoorali Verjee

WAIKIKI (KHNL) -- Workers at Waikiki's world-famous Ilikai hotel say they've had enough. No restaurant, no amenities, and a bare-bones staff handling double the workload; the list of complaints goes on about deteriorating conditions at the luxury hotel.

They staged a protest Thursday afternoon to save what they call their home. The protest comes after more than two dozen housekeepers learn they're losing their jobs starting April 1st and their Local 5 union representative says the new owner refuses to give them severance packages.

Employees say it's just one of many broken promises they've received.

Tension erupted at the Ilikai as employees marched to save what's left of their hotel.

"He's ruined the reputation of this beautiful landmark that I've worked here for 27 years," said Bruce Lum, an employee.

Protestors say problems started after the new owner took over in 2006.

"I always thought that a local boy that he is, he's going to treat us locals all right, he's not treating us right," said Lum.

"They cannot have anymore warm food in their cafeteria, he has taken that away. They can only have cold food, they are overworked and now April 1st he's going to let more of them go and we feel for them," said Gina Puehsc, a condo owner at the Ilikai.

Local 5 says 27 housekeepers will lose their jobs leaving the remaining few with a workload they say is double the average compared to other Waikiki hotels.

Workers say the layoffs just add to the stress they've dealt with the past couple of years.

"We've gone from 500 plus down to less than 100. Yeah, very very little of us left," said Joli Tokusato, an employee.

Even condo owners joined in to share their own frustrations.

"What have i lost? The value of my property has gone down, completely down. Nobody wants to touch my apartment," said Mansoorali Verjee, a condo owner.

As the rally ended, protesters left determined to restore the Ilikai to the way it used to be.

"That's all we want, is to have a future here, job security, that's all," said Tokusato.

Brian Anderson of Anekona is the new owner. He sold half of the Ilikai after he took over. Anderson could not be reached for comment.