ICBC Union’s Right to Strike Partially Reinstated

June 1, 2012

Media Release – June 1, 2012

ICBC Union’s Right to Strike Partially Reinstated
Union Disappointed Government and Corporation Prefer Stall Tactics Over Negotiation

Burnaby – The Labour Relations Board has issued an interim order in the matter of the Insurance Corporation of BC’s (ICBC) essential services application. The union representing ICBC employees says they are pleased a measure of ability to take job action has been restored, but are disappointed the government and Corporation prefer to waste more time at the Labour Board instead of negotiating a fair and reasonable collective agreement.

On April 19 ICBC applied for “essential service” designation before the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (MoveUP) had even finished counting their strike vote ballots. The ability to take job action or lockout employees is suspended when the Labour Board reviews essential service applications.

Today, after weeks of hearings, the Labour Relations Board handed down an interim order. This order will remain in place such time as the LRB issues a final order – a process which could take months.

The interim order allows MoveUP to issue an overtime ban until June 30. After June 30 the union may take whatever job action it deems appropriate—if the union has given 48 hours notice and if the job action does not go dip below the essential service levels applied for by ICBC. Likewise, the Corporation cannot lockout workers without giving 48 hours notice.

“This is a mixed blessing,” said MoveUP’s Vice President Jeff Gillies. “Our intent was never to put the driving public in the middle of our dispute with the government so the essential service levels – which we are still fighting at the Labour Board – won’t hinder our ability to take strategic, targeted job action.”

“But this stall tactic is typical of the way that ICBC and the provincial government are treating our members,” continued Gillies. “Instead of respectful, constructive dialogue, we got silence. When their intransigence pushed us to a strike vote, instead of dealing with our main concerns, they’re trying to remove our democratic right to engage in job action.”

MoveUP plans to issue 72-hours strike notice at some point in June. The union will also continue to argue at the Labour Board hearings that ICBC’s application was premature and heavy-handed, and that there are no jobs at ICBC that are justified to be designated an essential service.

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