QUALICUM BEACH – The Qualicum Beach Town Council has refused to settle its first-ever labour dispute. Discussions initiated by locked out municipal workers led to a three-hour in-camera council meeting today but failed to produce a contract settlement.
The 75 CUPE Local 401 members have been without a contract since 2013. The only outstanding issue is a union demand for a modest two-percent per-year wage settlement, in line with contract settlements in neighbouring communities on Vancouver Island.
“We offered a very reasonable package to settle this and get back to work – that was rejected today by the elected mayor and council,” said CUPE Local 401 president Blaine Gurrie.
Calling the Council decision “stubborn and short sighted”, Gurrie said the union is now left with no other option than to ramp up pressure in order to get a deal. “Our members are extremely upset by this lockout – they want to be out there working for the people of Qualicum Beach.”
“These local employees are among the most dedicated you will find in the public service anywhere and to thank them by kicking them out of their jobs is disgraceful,” said Gurrie, adding that traditionally the relationship between the town and its employees was exemplary.
While CUPE says it remains open to any and all meaningful talks, Council has no further bargaining sessions scheduled.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE Local 401 President
CUPE National Communications Representative