ICBC Union Hopes Meeting with Minister Falcon Will Break Bargaining Impasse
MoveUP to meet with Minister Responsible for ICBC Next Week
Burnaby—One day after announcing that unionized workers at the Insurance Corporation of BC members voted 87 per cent in favour of job action, the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (MoveUP) is hoping a meeting with Kevin Falcon, the Minister responsible for Finance, can break the bargaining stalemate.
“We’ve been without an agreement since 2010. We’ve been bargaining with ICBC for a year and we haven’t made any progress on the issues our members have said are their key priorities: workload, wages and contracting out,” said Jeff Gillies, MoveUP Vice President. “We’re hoping our meeting with the Minister responsible for ICBC will help move bargaining forward.”
ICBC was moved out of the Solicitor General’s Ministry and into the Ministry of Finance in early February 2012, after the Ministries of Attorney General and Solicitor General were disbanded and replaced with the single Justice Ministry.
“Hopefully at our Monday (April 30) meeting we can offer some insight to Minister Falcon as to why our members are so frustrated,” Gillies continued. “ICBC has increased compensation for auto body shops, lawyers, and other professionals who contract with ICBC. But ICBC workers wages haven’t even kept up with the cost of living since 2009. We understand the government’s mandate but ICBC has tabled a five year contract with no wage increase, not even at inflation.”
Between 2009 and 2011 brokers saw a 5 per cent increase in payment from ICBC. Autobody shops, depending on the type of work, saw increases of 2 to 4 per cent. Senior lawyers (ICBC defence counsel) received an 11 per cent increase and ICBC executives, on average, saw their paycheques increase by 4.6 per cent.
ICBC remains a profitable company. So profitable, in fact, that the provincial government has been taking money from ICBC and redirecting it to general revenue. The government’s 2012 budget and fiscal plan states that they will take $1.174 billion from ICBC between 2010 and 2014.
“We’re hoping that the Minister is willing to work with us to find a way the people responsible for ICBC’s success—our members—can share in that success. We’ll also ask that he consider lowering driver premiums because ICBC was never meant to be a cash cow for government,” finished Gillies.
Before the strike vote concluded ICBC applied for essential service designation to the BC Labour Board. The process of examining those arguments is expected to start within the next two weeks. It’s unknown how long the essential service deliberations will take.
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