Municipal workers at the Town of Holyrood have been locked out by their employer after several failed attempts at conciliation. The 15 employees, members of CUPE 3768, voted in favour of strike action just hours before arriving at work this morning to locked facilities.

CUPE National Representative Ed White says the union has been trying to bring wages for heavy equipment officers closer to the rates being offered by surrounding municipalities.

“The wages that are being offered by the employer in the first year are not even close to closing the gap,” says White. “We aren’t looking for parity with St. John’s, where equipment operators make about $6 per hour more. But we would like to get close to the wages earned in comparable municipalities like Placentia and Conception Bay South.

“The Town’s offer of $1.32 more per hour over three years is insulting to these employees who go above and beyond every day to make sure the residents of Holyrood have safe roads, clean water and quality services.”

White says the employees are quite upset at not being able to provide services to the town, “especially this time of year with the number of storms we have been having. But their hands are tied by the employer’s decision to lock them out instead of returning to the bargaining table with a fair offer.”

The employees provide snow clearing, water and sewage treatment, and clerical and accounting services to the town.