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BCGEU workers locked out in dispute with Westbank First Nation

By Contributor
July 4th, 2012

BC Government Employees Union Workers at Pine Acres Home in West Kelowna were locked out Monday afternoon by their employer, Westbank First Nation.

A mediator was appointed to the labour dispute by the Labour Relations Board, but last Thursday’s mediation was unsuccessful.

When negotiations resumed between the BCGEU and Pine Acres on June 20, the employer refused to remove their sweeping concessions.

BCGEU said demands included a two-tier wage structure for new employees; $4/hour wage cut; drastic cuts to vacation, sick leave, and benefits; and basic employment standards coverage for issues relating to hours of work.

The BCGEU was not prepared to discuss concessions without the employer agreeing to remove these demands.

Workers at Pine Acres are now entering their fourth year without a wage increase and deserve improved conditions. The union’s proposals have been reasonable and the union continues to be prepared to negotiate an agreement.

During the lockout, all LPNs and care aides will remain on the job, as essential service levels have been established. Staff members involved with laundry, housekeeping, kitchen, dietary, recreation and reception, however, are all locked out.

The BCGEU members held a strike vote last week and gave their bargaining committee a strong clear mandate with a 100 per cent strike vote. The workers on the picket line and inside providing essential services are united and determined to reach a fair and reasonable deal with their employer. 

Community support is pouring in and many members of the community are on the line supporting the workers and standing up to protect Pine Acres Home and the quality seniors healthcare being provided.

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