Employees in the Cowichan Valley in British Columbia are without a contract after nearly a year of negotiations and bargaining discussions with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD), the City of Duncan, and the District of North Cowichan broke down Nov. 6.
City of Duncan workers — represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 358 members —voted 95 per cent in favour of strike action and a strike vote is planned for Nov. 9 with CVRD members. Mediation through the Labour Relations Board (LRB) is also scheduled for both the CVRD and the District of North Cowichan later this month, said the union.
“The government announced a reduction for Medical Services Plan premiums starting in 2018 which means employers will have a significant cost savings and we believe that money should continue to be dedicated to employees’ benefits,” said Ian McLean, CUPE national representative and lead negotiator. “CUPE 358 members are committed to their community and the services they provide and they want to continue to provide those services without interruption. Taking strike action is always a last resort and we plan to do everything we can to complete negotiations at the bargaining table.”
Before taking any strike action essential service levels would need to be negotiated and the union would have to serve 72-hour strike notice, said CUPE.
CUPE Local 358 has six units and represents approximately 400 local government and private sector workers in the Cowichan Valley.
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