Membership nixes latest Fortis offer
Oct 31, 2013 / 4:00 pm
After another vote came and went earlier this week, it appears FortisBC and workers with IBEW local 213 are no closer to an agreement that would see locked out workers return to their jobs.
“This most recent tentative agreement saw increases to wages, no changes to benefits, and the removal of some productivity enhancements – it was language traveling to and from job sites,” explains Joyce Wagenaar, director of communications for FortisBC.
“Clearly the membership and the bargaining committee have different perspectives, but we remain available to return to the bargaining table (and) we want to see our employees return to work and of course we need to reach an agreement.”
The tentative deal was struck late last week, after the bargaining committee recommended it for ratification. Members then said no, during voting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wagenaar says this latest deal would have seen FortisBC offer a wage increase of 11.5 per cent over five years, which would have been 0.5 per cent above what was recommended by mediator Vince Ready during negotiations in September. In return, Fortis is looking for productivity improvements, but nothing that would impact wages or benefits of employees.
“There’s no concessions regarding their time off, I mean these employees earn three to seven weeks of annual vacation, they have 15 special vacation days every five years, they have an additional 14 days off each year to observe statutory holidays and other days,” says Wagenaar.
“They make a fair wage, and we’re disappointed but are committed to reaching a collective agreement that meets our employee’s needs as well as the needs of our customers.”
A call to Rod Russell, the spokesperson for IBEW 213 was not immediately returned.
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