Aerial view of Saanich and Cadboro BayWorkers in BC’s District of Saanich, represented by CUPE 2011, have voted over 94% in favour of striking in a vote that concluded Tuesday evening. The vote was called after the two parties reached impasse last week and following the District’s withdrawal of key items actively under discussion.

“The District wants the union to again accept a ‘rollover’ agreement that does not address the needs of workers who are struggling with cost-of-living challenges,” said CUPE 2011 President Ryan Graham. “Workers have important proposals on benefit improvements, allowances safety equipment, and support for precarious and casual workers—all issues of affordability for our members.”

Rollover agreements are often used when the parties have no substantive issues to negotiate, and generally provide for only wage adjustments and minor changes. In the last several rounds of bargaining, the District of Saanich has advanced rollover agreements, meaning much of the contract between the parties has not been reviewed and updated in over a decade.

“When you take away the smoke and mirrors, the District’s refusal to bargain benefits, allowances and other such cost items is simply the employer demanding we accept a pay cut,” said Graham. “As costs rise, and the District refuses to keep pace, our ability to support our families is reduced—this is not something we can accept.” It is time for the employer to return to the table to negotiate a fair deal.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user Keefer4 shared under (CC BY-SA 2.5)