Jail guards at the Kelowna, B.C., RCMP detachment voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action on Oct. 4 after negotiations broke down with the Commissionaires and the City of Kelowna.
The 17 members who provide correctional services and supervise offenders originally voted in favour of strike action in May. However, they chose not to take any action at that time and focused on resolving negotiations through mediation which included discussions with the city, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“We believe we are very close to reaching an agreement,” said Lee Mossman, CUPE 338 president. “The reality is that our members are paid less than other workers in comparable positions and that is causing retention issues as well as health and safety concerns. We believe that if we can resolve this issue we will be able to conclude negotiations.”
Jail guards in similar-sized and nearby communities make about $5 more per hour than workers in Kelowna, according to Mossman.
A meeting with the B.C. Labour Relations Board to negotiate essential service levels has been set. Following those discussions, 72‑hour strike notice will have to be served for the union to take strike action, said CUPE.
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