Jul 24, 2015

Qualicum Beach workers set to launch first-ever strike

QUALICUM BEACH - CUPE municipal workers in Qualicum Beach have served 72 -hour strike notice. The strike will begin at 10:26 am on Sunday, July 26 in the form of an overtime ban.

The move by the 46 members of CUPE Local 401 came after mediated talks with the town of Qualicum Beach broke down last month. 

CUPE Local 401 President Blaine Gurrie says “our priority is to get back to the bargaining table and reaching a fair settlement so we can focus on best serving the citizens of Qualicum Beach.  We want to minimize any impact on the public.”

Gurrie calls the breakdown in talks unfortunate. “We were very close to reaching an agreement – the outstanding issue is a modest wage settlement in line with every other CUPE municipal settlement in the area including Campbell River, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Parksville.”  

The union has been negotiating for a four-year contract with 2% wage adjustments in each year.  The last contract expired on Dec. 31, 2013.

“There has been a long tradition in Qualicum Beach between the town administration and the union of mutual respect and common goals – we have always been able to sit down together and work out any problems before they even get to the grievance stage. That longstanding relationship is in jeopardy right now, but we are confident that reason will prevail,” Gurrie says.

CUPE Local 401 represents municipal workers in Qualicum Beach including, labourers, utility workers, backhoe operators, tradespeople, park employees, office and clerical staff, building inspectors,  bylaw officers, IT personnel, engineering techs and water operators.

COPE 491