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BCGEU chief negotiator David Vipond said Wednesday the wage offer has been tabled and withdrawn three times since talks began early this year, a tactic he called “peek-a-boo bargaining.”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

VIDEO: Terry Fox Run returns to Port Hardy for the first time since 2016

All told, Port Hardy’s Terry Fox Run raised $2,200.30 with more still coming in.

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

Port Hardy celebrates Pride Day at Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre

In the evening, FISH TACO: A Seaside Drag performance was held at the Quarterdeck Pub.

Federal election: Meet the North Island candidates

We begin this series on the federal election by asking about their motivation for running.

Port McNeill Lions Club on the verge of shutting down, needs members

Stewart and Hinton hope volunteers will step forward to help them through this difficult time.

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Most Read