VANCOUVER Emergency dispatchers at E-Comm are hopeful that an industrial inquiry commission appointed last week will resolve their long-standing dispute and restore stability to the emergency call centre in these times of deep uncertainty.
This is an opportunity for the government to end the huge wage disparity that has existed at E-Comm since it began, CUPE Local 873 spokesperson Meena Cheema said. She was referring to the on-going violation of human rights where women dispatchers are paid much less than males.
At a time when the world is going through great uncertainty about security issues, these workers are the glue that holds us together in the event of a disaster, Local 873 provincial president John Strohmaier added. It is time they were recognized for the important role they play in keeping our communities safe. It is time to pay them fairly for it.
The dispute, which began on Sept. 17, 2000, has led to much speculation that the call centre is not in the state of readiness that is required for real emergencies. The prolonging of the dispute has fueled those public fears.
The communitys safety is our first priority and that means resolving this dispute in a fair way, Cheema said. Hopefully, the inquiry will help us do that.
The dispatchers had rejected the employers last offer in September by 100 per cent, leading to the request for an inquiry. The IIC will be conducted by Stan Lanyon who will report to Labour Minister Graham Bruce.
The emergency dispatchers have been without a collective agreement for more than 650 days.
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Contact: John Strohmaier, CUPE 873 provincial president, 604-728-2741; Meena Cheema, CUPE Local 873 spokesperson, 604-722-4611.