ICBC workers' union issues 72-hour strike notice
ICBC headquarters is shown in North Vancouver. Dec. 14, 2011. (CTV)
The union representing 4,600 workers at the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia issued a 72-hour strike notice Thursday, but a ruling by the province's labour board means they won't be able to stage a full walkout.
Instead of a full strike, the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union has planned a series of targeted actions, starting with an overtime ban beginning July 6.
The union members voted 87 per cent in favour of a strike earlier this year, but ICBC asked the Labour Relations Board to declare the workers an essential service.
The board ruled the union could take limited job action while it sorts out what is and isn't essential for the corporation, which insures all B.C. drivers.
Union local vice-president Jeff Gillies said members have been without a contract agreement for two years and ICBC expects them to go five years without a wage increase.
Gillies said his members want to negotiate workload issues, improved benefits and wage increases. They want yearly cost-of-living increases, as well as an additional one or two percentage points on top of that.
"Everybody should share in the success of ICBC," he said.
Gillies said the corporation has shared profits with its business partners and its executives, and now the union members want some of that.
"On top of that, the government is also taking a dividend from ICBC of $1.2 million, so we stand with drivers and suggest to ICBC that that dividend, at least portion of it, should go back to drivers in the form of a rate reduction," he said.
"We are not interested in putting drivers in the middle of our dispute. During a labour dispute, managers can pick up anything that is not preformed by the workers."
The corporation issued a statement Thursday saying the interim order by the Labour Relations Board will ensure essential services in the area of claims, drivers licensing, insurance and information systems are maintained.
"This will allow us to continue serving our customers with the lease amount of inconvenience," the statement said.
The order also requires that the union provide ICBC with an additional 48 hours of notice for any job action.
Gillies said the union hasn't decided what further action it will take, adding that will depend on the corporation and its willingness to return to the bargaining table.