QUALICUM BEACH – On the verge of ending its lockout of municipal workers, Qualicum Beach Town Council tried to introduce a condition that has the union filing a bad faith bargaining complaint and the provincial mediator calling their position “incorrect.”
The BC Labour Relations Board mediator’s recommendation package for a fair and reasonable contract was ratified last Friday by the 65 members of CUPE Local 401 employed by the town. The Qualicum Beach Town Council finally met today and reported that it would only accept the mediator’s package if the union agrees to a new demand that would exclude a union job from the bargaining unit.
The mediator’s recommendations included minor contract language changes and modest two-percent per-year wage increases, in line with other recent municipal settlements. The job exclusion demand was not part of the package. Mediator David Schaub wrote to the town council today calling its contention that there was agreement to exclude the job classification “incorrect” and suggesting they “seek advice from legal counsel…”
The workers were locked out of their jobs by the town a month ago in the first labour dispute in Qualicum Beach’s history.
CUPE 401 president Blaine Gurrie echoed the frustration of his members saying: “The mayor and council seem not to care that people’s lives and the community they were elected to serve are being so negatively impacted by their decisions.
“At every turn, we have been willing to negotiate and resolve this contract dispute – in good faith. But instead of going back to work tomorrow morning, we will still be locked out and the people of Qualicum Beach will be without their public workers,” said Gurrie.