ICBC seeks ruling to blunt possible strike

Union members vote in favour of job action, demand 10 per cent pay hike

Unionized ICBC workers have voted 87 per cent in favour of strike action to back demands for hefty pay hikes totaling 10 per cent.

The old collective agreement expired in 2010 and the 4,600 members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union have been bargaining without a contract for 15 months.

COPE local 378 vice-president Jeff Gillies said the strong vote reflects member “frustration” and said priority issues for the union are workload, wages and contracting out.

The union wants five per cent pay raises in each of 2012 and 2013, he said, while the employer wants a five-year contract with no pay increases.

“The corporation has been extremely profitable,” Gillies said. “It’s time to share some success with the workers.”

He cited the provincial government’s decision to siphon nearly $1.2 billion out of ICBC over a five-year period, and said auto body shops, lawyers and other contracted professionals are all receiving more from ICBC.

The Crown corporation, meanwhile, applied to the Labour Relations Board on April 19 to have parts of the ICBC workforce designated essential services, restricting the scope of any job action.

The filing says the designation is required to maintain the flow of rehabilitation and accident benefits to injured drivers, to register, license and insure vehicles, and to continue issuing and renewing driver’s licences, as well as revoking those of prohibited drivers.

It says there will be “irreparable harm” to the public without the ruling, along with serious financial damage to various individuals and businesses.

A ruling from the LRB is expected by late May.

Gillies was hopeful talks could resume in May in light of the strike mandate.

“As far as a full-blown strike, that’s a very remote possibility – it’s somewhere far off in negotiations,” he said, adding the union would instead first consider “strategic job action” to put pressure on the corporation and the government if talks fail.

“We’re not interested in putting drivers in the middle of this.”

The union also accuses the province of blocking full negotiations until a government-ordered review of ICBC announced last fall is complete.

ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem confirmed the corporation has no mandate from Victoria to bargain on monetary issues pending the results of the review, but said non-monetary issues can still be negotiated.

He said the essential services application is the “responsible thing to do” but added ICBC hopes for a settlement without job action.

Just Posted

All child porn charges against Chilliwack realtor dismissed

Meisner’s computers contained ‘miniscule’ amount of content normally found on offenders’ devices

B.C. Wildfire crews respond to Sts’ailes, Morris Valley fires

A fire at the First Nation and a grass fire in Mission sent smoke across the valley Wednesday

Power outages causing problems for Morris Valley Road residents

One resident argues BC Hydro ‘not fulfilling (its) mission statement’ thanks to unreliable power

Harrison retiree leaves legacy of ‘non-stop ideas’

Ruth Altendorf is remembered as a ‘“bubbly, enthusiastic, outgoing person’

Harrison musician Todd Richard gearing up for album release party in Chilliwack

Todd Richard’s third album, Live Your Life, features all ‘true-story’ songs

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Most Read