B.C. Rogers technicians give strong strike mandate amid concerns over Shaw job losses

Rogers techs ready to strike

Around 300 former Shaw technicians absorbed by Rogers Communications Inc. during the companies' merger have overwhelmingly voted to strike amid concerns over job security following recent layoffs and voluntary departures.

The union representing the workers, who are based in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and Langley, B.C., says those job losses call into question Rogers' commitment to create 3,000 new jobs in Western Canada over five years — a federally mandated condition of the $26-billion takeover.

In July, Rogers began offering voluntary departure packages and confirmed an unspecified number of employees were laid off as it integrated with Shaw and worked to eliminate duplication.

Jayson Little, a spokesperson for United Steelworkers union Local 1944, says Rogers is seeking to erode contractual language that prevents staff technicians' work from being performed by contractors at homes and businesses. Rogers did not immediately provide comment.

The union says its members will be in position to walk off the job in late October if the impasse hasn't been solved after receiving a 99.6 per cent strike mandate in last Friday's vote.

The two sides have been at the bargaining table since February as the union's members work under the terms of their previous collective agreement that expired on March 23.

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