BCGEU to ‘stand down’ job action to reflect significant progress in negotiations

BCGEU to 'stand down' job action to reflect significant progress in negotiations
Members of the British Columbia General Employees' Union picket outside a B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch facility, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, August 15, 2022.

The union representing B.C. government employees has announced its job action will be “stood down” to reflect the progress made in negotiations with the Public Service Agency.

“I would say relief and satisfaction that collective bargaining is the best way forward,” commented Premier John Horgan. “We live in a country where free collective bargaining has served all of us from coast to coast to coast for generations and it continues to do so.”

The BC General Employees’ Union launched picket lines at liquor distribution centres on Aug. 15, and imposed an overtime ban on Aug. 22.

The union and PSA announced on Aug. 23 the two parties would be returning to the bargaining table.

On Tuesday, the union announced the overtime ban would come to an end effective immediately, and that there are preparations underway to “stand down” the picket lines.

The media blackout will continue.

Previously, Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, told CHEK News that every week that the liquor distribution centres were closed will take two weeks to recover.

“It’s gonna take at least a month if not longer now, just to resupply the system,” Tostenson said on Aug. 24. “It’s not like we’re gonna get product tomorrow, able to solve today, we’re going to be in chaos. And this has thrown a wrench into us for weeks ahead.”

In Courtenay, the owner of the Whistle Stop Pub and beer and wine store told CHEK News Tuesday it’ll be chaos as stores place their orders.

“Every liquor store and every government store in this province is going to be putting their orders in and guess what, it’s going to be a disaster,” said Barry Van Dusen. “If I find out the government stores are getting filled up before private stores I can tell you I will be talking to my lawyers.”

The strike had an impact on liquor stores, and cannabis stores, as they are required to get their stock from the B.C. liquor distribution centres, so many places started to see bare shelves with no new stock coming in.

Some Island cannabis stores even made the choice to shut their doors as they did not have stock to sell.

Coast Range Cannabis in Comox is experiencing a short of flower, vapes and edibles although it was able to order six new products through a newly approved direct delivery program for retailers.

“Everyone has a delivery sitting at the warehouse that they’re waiting on but it’s a delivery based on product that we needed three to four weeks ago,” said Coast Range Cannabis owner Sheila Rivers.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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