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VICTORIA Township of Esquimalt municipal workers voted 88 per cent in favour of a strike today.

The main issue holding up an agreement is the employers refusal to provide sufficient funds to conclude our job evaluation program that commenced in 1991, Local 333 president Wayne Weber said.

The parties agree that a further $75,000 in targeted wage increases would finally result in all jobs in the same pay grade being paid the same wages. But the employer continues to support inequities within the pay schedules.

The union has proposed that the $75,000 be spread over the proposed four-year collective agreement to end the internal inequities.

This internal inequity must end now, Weber said. After 10 years of patiently waiting for equity our members are not prepared to wait any longer. The strong strike vote sends a message to our mayor and council that its time to settle the issue once and for all.

The collective agreement expired Dec. 31, 2000. CUPE will now seek to establish essential services under the Labour Relations Code. No bargaining sessions are scheduled.

The 150 employees represented by CUPE Local 333 work at City Hall, parks and public works, Esquimalt Recreation Centre, Archie Browning Sports Centre and the municipal archives.

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Contact: Wayne Weber, CUPE Local 333 President, 250- 216-1368 (cell).