The union representing about 1,000 Capital Regional District employees is considering job action, potentially a strike, after contract negotiations with the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association stalled. (Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS)

CRD staff could look to job action after mediation fails

Over 1,000 employees could partake in reduced hours, walk-outs

Representatives of the Capital Regional District and CRD employees were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract last week during a mediation attempt in Victoria.

The Greater Victoria Labour Relation Association, representing the CRD, and CUPE 1978 — which represents approximately 1,000 CRD employees — were in negotiations on a new deal, but could not agree on one major point: a raise to the 14-per-cent hourly premium paid in lieu of benefits to the roughly 500 auxiliary workers.

“It’s an additional payment to offset the lack of benefits they receive,” said CUPE 1978 president Rick Illi. “As an auxiliary worker they receive no sick time, no extended health … this premium is to help with that.”

While Illi said the union is looking for a “modest” increase, the subject is a sticking point in negotiations.

“We have a difference of opinion in terms of where that number should be,” said Kevin Murdoch, board chair of the GVLRA.

ALSO READ: CRD communities pull the plug on Saanich fire dispatch

An application by CUPE 1978 and the GVLRA was filed to the Labour Relations board on Monday to determine what essential services must still be provided by employees if job action is taken.

This process takes into account the roles that could not partake in any job action — such as a walkout — because it would put the health and safety of the general public at risk. These positions might include senior staff at water treatment or sewage treatment facilities, or 911 operators.

CUPE members voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike several weeks ago, in case negotiations come to a standstill. CUPE would still need to issue a 72-hour strike notice should they choose to take action, however, Illi said a strike is something they want to avoid if they can.

RELATED: CRD CUPE members vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike

“It could be as simple as an overtime ban, which would have no disruption of services,” he said. “At the far end is a full-scale job action, such as a strike. It’s not our intention to do that, we’re hopeful not going to do that.”

Murdoch said the GVLRA’s hope is to “avoid any form of labour action and reach the table and get to something that is mutually agreeable.” He added that at this point the ball is in CUPE 1978’s court.

“We’re focused frankly on getting a deal, and asking how do we find some resolution to this,” Murdoch said. “But, we also have to maintain our mandate to our client.”

Illi said the GVLRA simply didn’t want to negotiate.

“It’s kind of baffling for us why they don’t want to have a discussion,” he said. “All we’re hoping to have is a meaningful discussion and an improvement for a significant number of employees. But, a dialogue requires two.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

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

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read