Liquor and cannabis deliveries resume Friday as BCGEU job action ‘stands down’

Liquor and cannabis deliveries resume Friday as BCGEU job action ‘stands down’
Empty shelves have become a common sight at liquor stores in B.C. following job action that stopped work at liquor distribution centres in the province.

Liquor and cannabis stores in Victoria can expect product deliveries to resume as early as Friday.

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

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

Emilee Rempel, manager at BBuds, said this means stores haven’t seen a product shipment since Aug. 15.

She explained that caused her store to temporarily close due to lack of product.

“Currently we only have 60 products in when usually we would have close to 300 products in, including back stock,” Rempel said. “We didn’t think it would be like this.”

Read More: Island cannabis stores begin to close as BCGEU strike continues

The B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch sent an email to cannabis and liquor stores across the province Tuesday stating product deliveries would start up again. It said backlogged orders placed before the strike started would be delivered first.

Darren Saunders, co-owner of Pacificanna, said this is exciting news as his store is waiting on a few backlogged orders.

“It’s been hard so everyone is relieved,” Saunders said.

Both BBuds and Pacificanna received updates from B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch Wednesday, stating both stores could see deliveries as soon as Friday.

Saunders said this is very exciting news, as this means they can open the store doors as soon as the deliver arrives.

However, he says it will take more than one delivery to get the store fully stocked.

“I’m assuming it’s going to be a bit of a mess for at least two to three weeks before things get back to normal,” Saunders said.

Chris Alaggia, manager of Liquor Express on Yates, said his shelves have started to dwindle over the week as well.

He added he hadn’t seen as much of a shortage throughout the strike because local distributors offered direct delivery to offset the delivery stoppage at the provincial distribution centres.

Alaggia said his email from the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch stated a similar delivery resumption process as cannabis deliveries, with backlogged orders going out first, then first-come-first-serve until regular deliveries resume.

“They told us that our delivery windows basically don’t exist right now and it’s going to come when it comes,” Alaggia added. “Which is a little hard to plan, but I’ll take that over empty shelves any day of the week.”

In a statement to CHEK News, the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch said “We greatly appreciate the continued patience and understanding of our customers as we take steps to resume operations, as it may take some time for operations and service levels to return to normal.”

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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