BURNABY – The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (COPE 378) announced that over 1,500 members at 55 claims-related Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) locations will be taking strike action on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. This strike action will include the claims centre on Sixth Avenue in Port Alberni.
“These are employees who have been without a contract for over two years,” explained COPE 378 ICBC President David Black in a press release.
“Their wages are falling behind while ICBC executives and business partners got massive salary increases and $1.2 billion of ICBC profits went into government revenues.”
“Striking is never an easy decision,” said Black, “and we sincerely hoped our strike action on Sept. 5, when we co-ordinated with the BCGEU and the PEA, would help ICBC focus on reaching a fair and reasonable collective agreement. But ICBC’s attitude hasn’t changed.”
Nearly 1,200 workers will be on strike in the lower mainland, and the remaining 300 will be in communities throughout the rest of B.C. This newest job action is part of an escalating strategy aimed at getting ICBC back to the table. ICBC’s last offer was a two percent wage increase over a four-year contract.
“Our members felt it was very important to take another day of action so they could talk to the public about how the government is mishandling ICBC, not just for the workers but also for drivers that haven’t seen a rate reduction in years,” Black said.
Most of the locations that will be on strike on Sept. 18 were not part of last week’s joint strike with the PEA and BCGEU.
Members of ICBC’s driver services were part of the strike action at the government ministry offices on Eighth Avenue in Port Alberni, but the claims centre was still open.
Essential Service levels will be maintained at all striking locations. COPE 378 represents 4,600 workers at ICBC.
— With files from Susan Quinn, Alberni Valley News editor