A B.C. Labour Relations Board decision has barred Kelowna Cabs from laying off its dispatchers to replace them with an app. (Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)

A B.C. Labour Relations Board decision has barred Kelowna Cabs from laying off its dispatchers to replace them with an app. (Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)

No end in sight to Kelowna Cabs lockout after Labour Board decision

The B.C. Labour Relations Board dismissed the complaint that the lockout is illegal

It seems the dispute between Kelowna Cabs and its dispatchers will continue for the foreseeable future after the B.C. Labour Relations Board decided not to order an end to the lockout.

The unionized dispatchers have been locked out since Feb. 23, after their collective agreement expired in May 2019. The dispatchers’ union, MoveUP, said Kelowna Cabs is trying to outsource their work to an overseas call centre.

MoveUP brought the matter to the Labour Relations Board, saying the imposition of the lockout was illegal and asking the board to prohibit Kelowna Cabs from replacing the dispatchers and outsourcing the work, but the board did not pursue the second complaint.

In its decision, the labour board said Kelowna Cabs did break the Labour Code when it told an employee that in order to keep his job, he’d have to leave the union.

The labour board did not declare the lockout illegal.

READ: Petition circulates supporting locked out Kelowna Cabs dispatchers

Bargaining between Kelowna Cabs and MoveUP members started in October 2019 to renew the collective agreement, resuming again in August 2020, but that session had to stop given that Kelowna Cab’s representative didn’t actually have the authority to bargain on behalf of the company.

Kelowna Cabs then sent the union an email listing the company’s bargaining position.

“But the information provided was unclear, did not cover all of the topics the employer had raised previously, and did not include any proposed collective agreement language,” according to the board decision.

During bargaining sessions on Aug. 26 and 27 last year, Kelowna Cabs “made clear that its intention was to transition to a web-based application for the purposes of dispatch and sought agreement terms that would enable it to do so.”

The board said there weren’t enough details and evidence from Kelowna Cabs and MoveUP’s bargaining sessions to determine where else the Labour Code was breached.

READ: Dispatch staff to remain with Kelowna Cabs after union fight


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twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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