Outside workers begin job action as inside worker strike looms


Vancouver is bracing for a potential full-scale walkout of 1,800 outside city workers as union members ramp up job action.

 




Workers began staging two-hour walkouts at several sites yesterday within minutes of the 11 a.m. strike deadline.

 




Public services were affected only minimally, but CUPE local 1004 president Mike Jackson told reporters that job action is likely to escalate as other locals join their colleagues during the next few days.

 




Road work and garbage collection are among the services to be halted if workers initiate a complete strike.

 




City spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny has accused the union of asking for a massive wage hike, which he said would place an unacceptable burden on taxpayers.





Talks between the union and the city broke down Tuesday night. The union then imposed a work-to-rule order and a ban on overtime.





The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) yesterday afternoon issued a statement saying they were still hoping to come to an agreement. Workers are being offered a 9.7 per cent wage increase over 39 months.





The union is asking for a more than 16 per cent increase, according to the GVRD.





Inside workers, including clerical and library staff, may join in job action. Yesterday, they were voting on whether to accept the city’s final offer on a new contract.





The city was offering its 3,500 inside workers a 10 per cent wage increase over 39 months with no reductions in benefits. The city bypassed the union, asking workers directly to vote on the offer.





Labour unrest also hit North Vancouver yesterday, as about 800 workers began taking job action including an overtime ban.