Sep 25, 2012 / 8:52 pm
The union representing 145 FortisBC electric employees in five different Thompson-Okanagan and Kootenay communities has given 72-hour strike notice.
The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, local 378 (COPE 378) announced Monday that its members at FortisBC Inc. have given the union an 88 per cent strike vote.
“The strength of this vote is because of the employer’s attempt to attack our benefits,” said Brad Bastien, COPE 378 senior union representative. “They’ve put forward packages for employees and retirees that are significantly worse than what we have now.”
Meanwhile, FortisBC said Tuesday it would apply to the BC Labour Relations Board to “have some electricity work functions designated as essential.”
If approved, no job action would be permitted until an approved essential services order were put in place.
“The company looks forward to resuming negotiations with the union on Oct. 3 and working to reach an agreement through dialogue,” FortisBC spokesperson Joyce Wagenaar said.
“FortisBC tabled a market competitive offer which is consistent with other compensation and benefits within FortisBC.”
But COPE accuses FortisBC’s employees and retirees benefit plan of being a “don’t-get-too-sick” system.
“This is no way to treat people who spend years working hard for you. We’re hoping this strike mandate will make that crystal clear to the employer,” Bastien added.
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