One hundred jobs will remain in Kamloops after B.C. Premier Christy Clarke said her government will abandon plans to privatize liquor wholesaling and warehousing.
“There’s some very ecstatic members at Kamloops distribution centres in Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria,” said BCGEU representative and liquor store employee Karl Wolfe.
Dumping privatization was part of a new deal reached between the province and B.C. Government and Service Employees Union. Details of the contract were not released. Clarke said public-sector workers have been treated fairly and taxpayers protected.
The union had sought a 3.5 per cent increase in the first year, while the province insisted any deal could not result in cost increases to the treasury.
Wolfe was in front of the North Kamloops government liquor store Friday morning, gathering signatures on an anti-privatization petition, when he heard news of Clarke’s decision to scrap privatization of wholesaling and distribution of booze in B.C.
The province had guaranteed workers would retain their jobs once warehouses were privatized, but there was no certainty about where those jobs would be.
Wolfe said families will now have confidence about their future and the city will be ensured of retaining stable, family supporting jobs.
“We were determined to protect those jobs,” said Wolfe, adding the union has fought privatization in various guises since 1989.
“I can’t thank the public enough.”
Kamloops Coun. Nancy Bepple said the news is welcome for the city and for consumers.
“I don’t see how the consumer would win by partitioning it and spreading it to a number of companies.”
The province recently short-listed companies as final bidders on the now-scrapped project.
Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger said the majority of opinion from his constituents was against the privatization
“I think the decision was made that we’re creating more angst than it was worth. It wasn’t certain what the savings would be.”
The overall deal for BCGEU workers along with B.C. nurses, announced Thursday, will be good for the province, Krueger said.
“It’s great they’ve come to terms, without adding new money to the pot. They’re getting increases from savings in the system.”
Bepple also said news the city is retaining the jobs is an economic boost.
“It’s always good to have a longtime stable employer in the community.”