BCGEU mulls strike after breakdown in talks

Liquor stores, distribution among potential targets for job action

The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union has a strike mandate to take job action up until mid-August.

Picket lines could spring up this summer around liquor stores, court houses and various government offices if the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) goes on strike.

Talks between the province and its largest public sector union broke down June 22 when BCGEU leaders asked mediator Debbie Cameron to book out, citing a stalemate.

Union leaders have yet to issue 72-hour strike notice, but their strike mandate – granted in an 82 per cent vote of members in May – expires in mid-August.

A strike could affect not just government liquor stores but private ones supplied by the Liquor Distribution Branch, whose unionized employees are among the 25,000 government workers who could walk out.

Some job categories, including corrections officers at prisons, child protection workers and some health care workers, would be declared essential services to maintain public safety.

The union could also opt for targeted, rotating strikes, rather than a full walkout.

The province had offered a two per cent pay hike July 1 and another 1.5 per cent next July, along with promises of job security.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon expressed disappointment and warned that offer would be taken off the table if workers go on strike.

He said the province is following a cooperative gains mandate allowing modest pay hikes provided savings can be found within existing government budgets.

The union, whose members worked the past two years under a net-zero contract,  wants a 3.5 per cent pay hike in the first year and one to match inflation in the second year.

“The government’s last offer would see our members’ pay cheques fall further and further behind inflation,” BCGEU president Darryl Walker said, arguing their pay freeze since 2010 has effectively cut wages by five per cent relative to the cost of living.

The union has suggested using deputy sheriffs for traffic safety in place of RCMP officers and expanding government liquor store services to either save money or generate more revenue to fund pay hikes.

Just Posted

The Disaster Before Christmas: Mission Hospice Society needs public’s help

Leaking pipes and a sewer back up leaves non-profit group with a huge bill it can’t afford to pay

Mission waterfront a priority for council

Mayor: ‘We still see our waterfront as a phenomenal opportunity for the entire community’

Silverdale planning is just beginning

Public meeting shows initial steps; next up will be examining infrastructure

Eight-foot-deep sinkhole appears in dike near Abbotsford/Mission wastewater plant

Crews hope to repair hole by February, but cost not yet known

Casino move, expansion approved by Mission council

Council votes 6-1 in favour of proposal, Chances still need final approval from the BCLC

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read