BCGEU job action hits Kelowna office

About 30 members of the Ministry of Labour, Agriculture, Health and Environment office took part in job action during working hours Tuesday.

Morgan Roosenmaallen

Morgan Roosenmaallen

Kelowna’s Powick Road was one of four areas in the province being picketed by members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union Tuesday.

About 30 members of the Ministry of Labour, Agriculture, Health and Environment office took part in job action during working hours.

Approximately 170 other members from offices in Surrey, 100 Mile House and Campbell River also took part in the Tuesday’s strike.

Byron Goerz, component chairperson of the environment, technical and operational services with BCGEU said the goal of Tuesday’s job action was to make all of B.C. aware of the current labour dispute between the union and the government.

“We want to draw the public’s attention that we’re just looking for a fair settlement,” said Goerz.

“We’re picking targeted areas where we can remind folks that we don’t have a contract.”

Goerz said that the BCGEU is eager to get back to the bargaining table to sort out a deal.

“The last offer we put on the table was a cost of living increase, plus one per cent.

“We’re at a bit of a loss why we can’t come to an agreement, especially given that we’ve put on the table a number of different ways to increase government revenues that would more than pay for what we’re asking.”

He said that the public feedback was mostly positive Tuesday.

“I haven’t seen anything negative. We had some honking and some waving.

“We do our own polling about what we’re asking—within our membership and also in the general public—and our polling shows that (the public) is willing to support a reasonable settlement for our membership.”

Those who picketed Tuesday were all non-essential service workers.

“We have a couple conservation officers working out of this location, but they are essential services so they were on the job.”

Goerz said he isn’t sure what the future holds for the BCGEU.

“We don’t have a clear plan right now because what we’d really like to do is be back at the table.

“I anticipate we’ll probably see some more targeted actions throughout the summer if we don’t get back to the table.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Kelowna Capital News