Coraley Daw waves to a passing driver while joined by Joan Bryant in a one-day strike at the Port McNeill branch of BC Liquor Stores last Wednesday.

Union holds one-day strike

Provincial government workers hold one-day strike to push for wage increase.

Provincial government employees staged their largest one-day strike so far last Wednesday to press for a bigger wage increase, with two thirds of the workforce off the job at ministry offices, liquor stores and ICBC offices province-wide.

In Port McNeill, employees at the Ministry of Forests office took shifts on a picket line along Mine Road, while BC Liquor Store patrons arrived to find the doors locked and employees seated on the sidewalk with a petition to halt efforts to privatize the business.

“We’re just looking for a fair and equitable deal,” said Dacen Brooks of MOF, noting the union accepted a zero-increase contract during its last negotiations two years ago. “We understood the economy had taken a downturn and were willing to help out. Now we’re just asking to be

Both the government and the B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Union remained unwilling to budge from their positions after negotiations broke down over wage increases this spring. The union executive is meeting next week to consider further strike action this fall.

Two earlier one-day strikes targeted liquor warehouses and then selected resource ministry offices in the B.C. Interior. Government negotiators offered raises of two and 1.5 per cent for the next two years, then withdrew the offer after the union staged the first strike.

BCGEU chief negotiator David Vipond said Wednesday the wage offer has been tabled and withdrawn three times since talks began early this year, a tactic he called “peek-a-boo bargaining.” And after three years without a wage increase, he said the union is sticking to its demand for 3.5 per cent in the first year and a cost-of-living raise of about 2.5 per cent in year two.

“They want us to reduce our real income over this contract, and we’ve already taken a five-per-cent hit,” Vipond said in an interview. “So to try and chisel us again with a skinny deal doesn’t make sense to us. We want to at least keep up with inflation and gain a little of what we have lost.”

Premier Christy Clark unveiled her new cabinet lineup in Victoria Wednesday as BCGEU pickets circled government offices downtown. Both Clark and Mike de Jong, the new finance minister, said they have no intention of increasing the burden on taxpayers to provide bigger raises to provincial workers.

“The government’s position on this hasn’t changed,” Clark said. “I am not going back to taxpayers for more money in order to give government workers a raise. We are in very tough economic times and we have to balance our budget.”

The government estimates that the wage offer adds up to $1,700 more over two years for a BCGEU employee making $48,000 a year.

With files from J.R. Rardon, North Island Gazette.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Distracted driving causes accident in Port Hardy.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: Highway reopened late afternoon in wake of collision near Port McNeill

Port McNeill Fire Rescue warns locals about “slippery conditions,” and to take extra precaution.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

Victim’s girlfriend testifies on first day of 2016 Chemainus murder trial

“I was soaked in blood from the neck down”: witness

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Most Read