QUALICUM BEACH – As the Mayor and Council’s lockout enters its third week, CUPE members are urging them to focus on getting back to the table instead of trying to provoke workers and scare the community.
Referring to last week’s release from the Town on safety for the public and exempt employees, CUPE 401 Vice President Laurence Amy said that locked out CUPE members monitoring the work that exempt staff are doing is standard practice in these situations.
Amy said that as a result of the monitoring the union took the Town of Qualicum Beach to the Labour Board on Friday to address concerns about inappropriate activity on the Town’s part. “We were concerned that Town management was violating the rules during a lockout. As a result of the hearing, there is more clarity about what work exempt employees can do,” said Amy.
On the subject of safety, Amy said that the union is concerned about the Fire Chief doing building inspections during the lockout despite the fact that he does not meet the suggested qualifications established by the building inspectors’ professional body. The union has raised these issues with the Town and will continue to monitor the situation.
“Our central focus is on getting back to the table and getting a fair deal. We would like to see our Mayor and Council do the same. We have been without a contract since December 2013 and we are seeking the same two percent annual increase reached in neighbouring communities. Our priority remains getting a fair deal with a minimum impact on the citizens and businesses of Qualicum Beach,” said Amy.
During the lockout, CUPE 401 members are picketing at several sites including the town hall, airport, parks yard, civic centre, community centre and works yard. The Town has closed its public washrooms and garbage won’t be picked up by unionized employees.
Visit the QualicumBeachLockout.com for more information.