Linda Biamonte

Alberni gov’t employees join one-day strike

Members of the BC Government Employees' Union (BCGEU) were on the picket lines Wednesday morning at two different sites in Port Alberni.

Government employees were behind picket lines at the BC Liquor Store and the government offices on Eighth Avenue in Port Alberni, Wednesday morning.

The one-day strike by the BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU) is the first day of job action and is designed “to try and get back to the bargaining table,” Local 502 spokesperson Dave Auld said.

The BCGEU has been without a contract since March, and has not seen a wage increase since 2009.

“We’re more worried about privatization than anything,” he said.

Shop steward Linda Biamonte said union members want to keep jobs in B.C.

The Services Canada and welfare offices were behind an information picket, as they have been deemed essential services. What that means is the buildings are open to the public with essential staffing levels inside.

Pickets will remain up on Eighth Avenue until 4:30 p.m. and in front of the liquor store until 6 p.m., which is regular store hours, Auld said.

While ICBC drivers’ services is affected at the Eighth Avenue government building, the ICBC Claims Centre on Sixth Avenue was not. A spokesperson for COPE 378 said most employees at that site have been deemed essential services. The spokesperson would not rule out an information picket line at the claims centre, however, said the facility would still remain open.

The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) Local 378 joined both the BCGEU and Professional Employees Association to send a message to the provincial government that they want fair and reasonable collective agreements.