BCGEU union members take to the picket line at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s Delta distribution centre on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter)

BCGEU union members take to the picket line at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch’s Delta distribution centre on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter)

BCGEU initiates strike action on Monday

Picket lines went up in front of B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch wholesale and distribution centers in Delta, Kamloops, Richmond and Victoria.

UPDATE – The British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU) began a series of targeted strikes on Monday.

Over 900 workers walked out in what the BCGEU Twitter feed called a “first step that represents over 33,000 public service workers.”

Picket lines went up in front of B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch wholesale and distribution centers in Delta with 717 people picketing, Kamloops with 104, Richmond with 106 and Victoria with 32.

Workers at the Wholesale Customer Center and Customer Care Center (Cannabis Division) in Burnaby there will be joining picket lines at other locations.

“Our members have been crystal clear since day one that their priority this round of bargaining was cost of living protection for their wages,” said Stephanie Smith,BCGEU president and chair of the union’s public service bargaining committee in a press release.

The collective agreement between the union and the Public Service Agency (PSA) expired on April 1 of this year.

Negotiations to reach a new agreement started in February, talks broke down on April 6 with union members voting 95 percent in favour of taking job action on June 22.

The union and PSA met again last week, but the bargaining committee decided there was nothing to be gained from continued talks at that time.

“The bottom line is, they’re not asking for anything that MLAs don’t already have,” said Smith. “The strike vote in June and issuing strike notice today is a message to government that our members are serious.”

In an email statement, Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation stated that “As the BCGEU has initiated job action, I want to assure people that they can continue to count on essential services being available. The BC Labour Relations Board has set interim essential services levels to protect the health, safety and welfare of people needing government services and supports.”

READ MORE:BCGEU, LifeLabs reach new tentative agreement after union workers begin strike

At noon Wednesday, Government Licensed Professionals (GLP), issued a 72-hour strike notice following a June vote with 92 percent in favour of a strike.

“These licensed professionals rebuild bridges and roads, monitor BC’s forests and agriculture, and provide care to the province’s most vulnerable youth,” said Melissa Moroz, Labour Relations Officer with the PEA. “We need their expertise more than ever to help keep the province safe.”

The Professional Employees Association (PEA) representing the GLP said bargaining reached an impasse in May “when wage proposals failed to address the rising cost of living.”



fiona.grisswell@100milefreepress.net

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