ICBC seeks ruling to blunt possible strike

Union members vote in favour of job action, demand 10 per cent pay hike

Unionized ICBC workers have voted 87 per cent in favour of strike action to back demands for hefty pay hikes totaling 10 per cent.

The old collective agreement expired in 2010 and the 4,600 members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union have been bargaining without a contract for 15 months.

COPE local 378 vice-president Jeff Gillies said the strong vote reflects member “frustration” and said priority issues for the union are workload, wages and contracting out.

The union wants five per cent pay raises in each of 2012 and 2013, he said, while the employer wants a five-year contract with no pay increases.

“The corporation has been extremely profitable,” Gillies said. “It’s time to share some success with the workers.”

He cited the provincial government’s decision to siphon nearly $1.2 billion out of ICBC over a five-year period, and said auto body shops, lawyers and other contracted professionals are all receiving more from ICBC.

The Crown corporation, meanwhile, applied to the Labour Relations Board on April 19 to have parts of the ICBC workforce designated essential services, restricting the scope of any job action.

The filing says the designation is required to maintain the flow of rehabilitation and accident benefits to injured drivers, to register, license and insure vehicles, and to continue issuing and renewing driver’s licences, as well as revoking those of prohibited drivers.

It says there will be “irreparable harm” to the public without the ruling, along with serious financial damage to various individuals and businesses.

A ruling from the LRB is expected by late May.

Gillies was hopeful talks could resume in May in light of the strike mandate.

“As far as a full-blown strike, that’s a very remote possibility – it’s somewhere far off in negotiations,” he said, adding the union would instead first consider “strategic job action” to put pressure on the corporation and the government if talks fail.

“We’re not interested in putting drivers in the middle of this.”

The union also accuses the province of blocking full negotiations until a government-ordered review of ICBC announced last fall is complete.

ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem confirmed the corporation has no mandate from Victoria to bargain on monetary issues pending the results of the review, but said non-monetary issues can still be negotiated.

He said the essential services application is the “responsible thing to do” but added ICBC hopes for a settlement without job action.

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Concrete beams for McKenzie interchange set for installation this weekend

No lane closures expected during weekend work, says ministry

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read