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Labour Relations Board ruling expected this week

The BCGEU said the union is awaiting the ruling by the Labour Relations Board, believed to be expected Thursday, that could impact ferries, including the Osprey, on the Kootenay Lake Ferry system. — The Nelson Daily photo

Users of Kootenay Lake Ferries, BCGEU employees and Western Pacific Marine, ferry operators, are waiting for an expected ruling later this week by the Labour Relations Board.

The board is determining the service of levels during possible job action by the BCGEU.

“While ferry services are designated as essential, the Labour Relations Board is responsible for determining the service levels during a job action,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told The Nelson Daily.

“We urge the employer and the union to continue to advance negotiations so local residents and travelers can continue to use the inland ferry services that they rely on to get to work, school and home.”

BCGEU, representing approximately 80 members, have been negotiating with Western Pacific Marine since the contract expired during the spring. The fire-year contract expired March 31, 2019.

A strike by BCGEU members could impact local routes on the system, including Harrop and Glade cable ferries as well as Kootenay Lake Ferry that connects Highway 3A between Balfour and Kootenay Bay.

When contacted by The Nelson Daily, a representative from the BCGEU said the union is awaiting the ruling by the Labour Relations Board, which the union believes is expected to be released Thursday.

After the hearing results are released, the union can declare a strike with 72 hour notice.

The BCGEU spokesperson said until the ruling has been released, all routes will operate as per current schedules unless there is job action.

“The union (BCGEU) that represents the inland ferry workforce is negotiating a new collective agreement with their private company employers,” the MOTI spokesperson said.

“This is a standard part of the collective bargaining process.”

The MOTI spokesperson said the travelling public will be kept up to date via ministry social media channels and DriveBC.

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