Editorial: Holiday reminder of labour unrest

Labour Day more than one last chance to extend the summer and enjoy a long weekend

For many families and working individuals, Labour Day offers one last chance to extend the summer and enjoy a long weekend.

But for a large number of unionized workers in B.C., it signals what could be the start of a fall and winter of discontent.

Unsatisfied with a three-per-cent wage hike offer and a stagnant state of negotiations with the province, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union is staging a one-day walkout next Wednesday (Sept. 5).

The strike, which will see essential service levels maintained, doesn’t come out of the blue. Civil servants have been without a contract since March 31 and bargaining between the two sides has stalled.

The timing of this move by one of the province’s largest unions is rather ironic. Unions fought for workers’ rights for years, achieving gains in safety, working hours, job security and not least, wages.

Now, as much of B.C. is taking a well-deserved day off on a holiday originating from union victories on the issues of work hours and living wages, the BCGEU and other unions are gearing up for more fights, with wages, benefits and job security still at issue.

More than 1,300 support staff at the University of Victoria, without a contract since March 2010, are considering job action options for next week as students return to class. Job security is at issue – CUPE fears the province’s call for universities to find major cost savings could see major job losses – but holding the line on wages to save jobs is not on the table.

And for much of this year, the 30,000-strong B.C. Nurses’ Union has stated that better patient care and adequate staffing levels – requiring more hires and more government dollars – are top priorities in contract negotiations with the province.

We can be grateful to workers of old for our September holiday and the conditions around which we earn our living.

But with the province still struggling to right itself on shaky economic ground, the unions of today need to remember they can’t expect to keep gaining while others continue to struggle.

 

Just Posted

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

Custom motorcycle and wood cutter stolen from Sooke motorcycle shop

2006 Husqvarna motorcycle and 2-ton log splitter taken from outbuilding

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read