Unionized government workers begin job action next week with a 24-hour strike at the Liquor Distribution Branch warehouse in Kamloops.
Contract negotiations between the BCGEU and the provincial government broke off last week when they failed to find common ground after two more days of mediation. Talks began in January.
Tuesday’s strike will be the first job action the union has taken in 24 years. Pickets will be set up all day Tuesday at the Dallas Drive warehouse, one of three operations that the government is planning to privatize. A call for tenders closes at the end of this month.
The warehouse is a distribution point for much of the B.C. Interior, so the temporary closure could delay deliveries to government stores as well as private beer and wine stores as the busy summer holiday season begins.
The union is also shutting down the main LDB warehouse in Vancouver starting late Monday and the Victoria wholesale customer centre on Tuesday. That facility also houses the LDB’s head office.
Other B.C. government liquor stores will not be affected by the job action.
Wage demands are the main stumbling block. The government offered two per cent July 1 and 1.5 per cent in year two, calling it a fair offer, but refused to make the increase retroactive. The union maintains that extends a two-year wage freeze and is the same offer made when talks began in January.