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Complaint for practice of

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The BC Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, south of Vancouver. (Archive photo)

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The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union has filed a complaint against the employer for unfair labor practices. The British Columbia Labor Relations Board received the complaint on December 14, 2023.

Since August, the union has been negotiating a wage increase for its members, or nearly 5,000 seasonal and permanent employees in British Columbia, says President Eric McNeely.

According to the complaint obtained by CBC/Radio-Canada, BC Ferries negotiated for more than a year, without the union's knowledge, with unionized employees who live in remote areas. The union considers this method to violate the British Columbia Labor Relations Code.

He accuses the provincial company of having provided accommodation and housing allowances for more than a year to staff members living in the Northern Gulf Islands.

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This summer, BC Ferries has been plagued by technical difficulties with its ferries as well as last-minute cancellations. (Archive photo)

For the union, the employer's efforts were aimed at leading a concerted campaign of disinformation and diminishing the ;union authority. This method stoked fear and animosity sowing discord between the union and its members.

The union is seeking, among other things, $2.1 million in damages, as well as a complete halt to BC Ferries' alleged illegal tactics.

While we are aware of the complaint and will respond to it, we are limited in what we can say at this time as the matter is now before the Labor Relations Commission, the company writes. provincial at CBC/Radio-Canada.

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However, she declares that she honors the agreement reached with the employees' union, which provides for respectful communication between the two parties.

Eric McNeely affirms that 'after exceptional inflation, BC Ferries employees are paid 18-60% less than their colleagues at competing companies. Some also send representatives in front of railway terminals to offer better-paid contracts to BC Ferries employees, he says.

People are struggling to make ends meet. This situation, [which] has sparked anger and frustration among union members, can only be described as a crisis.

A quote from The BC Ferries Employees Union

BC Ferries employees are currently in the middle of a five-year contract that includes a 4% raise over three years, but due to a wage reopening clause, the union and the union are currently in the middle of a five-year contract that includes a 4% raise over three years. employer agreed to resume wage negotiations in early August, according to the complaint.

Failing to agree, the union and the company provincial authorities have initiated mandatory arbitration proceedings which are expected to resume in February. The union is barred from legally striking due to a binding 2003 arbitration ruling.

We hope that the outcome will be positive for our staff and that the arbitration process will be completed in 2024, when the panel of arbitrators will issue its decision, assures BC Ferries.

With information from Moira Wyton

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