700 workers at B.C.'s Finning locations begin strike

Employees at the largest Caterpillar equipment dealer walk off the job
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 06/24/2011

Workers at service centres of British Columbia's Finning International Inc., the largest dealer of Caterpillar equipment, walked off the job on Wednesday.

The current two-year collective agreement for British Columbia and Yukon union employees expired on April 14, the company said in a statement. Union members voted 89.5 per cent in favour of striking prior to pursuing job action.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), Local 692 says the strike will continue until Finning brings a "reasonable offer".

“We are working for a fair contract and so far Finning has not given us an offer that will get us a deal,” explained IAMAW District Lodge 250 Directing Business Representative Stan Pickthall in a press release. “We have been working hard on these negotiations over the past two days and Finning has moved only marginally from their previous position."

The IAMAW represents about 700 hourly-paid Finning parts and service employees in British Columbia and Yukon.

Finning, which has operations in western Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ireland and the UK, says equipment and parts sales will continue, but field and shop services will be unavailable. A contingency plan is in place to minimize the impact on customers, according to the company.

Finning's operations in Alberta and the Northwest Territories operate under a separate collective agreement and will not be affected by this action, the company said.

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