Unionized employees at LifeLabs B.C. operations kicked off job motion Saturday, after coming into a authorized strike place Friday evening.
Staff had been set to rally outdoors the corporate’s Burnaby Reference Lab, earlier than implementing an time beyond regulation ban and a work-to-rule marketing campaign.
Talking on World Information Morning Saturday, BC Normal Staff Union president Stephanie Smith mentioned wages and advantages had been the important thing sticking factors, with LifeLabs’ estimated 1,550 B.C. employees being paid between 4.5 and 13.5 per cent lower than their counterparts within the public system.
“And naturally throughout COVID they’ve been labored to the bone,” she mentioned.
“They’re searching for a collective settlement that acknowledges their very important contribution to the companies British Columbians depend on.”
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Contract negotiations have been underway for the reason that spring, and Smith mentioned the union voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate in July. The strike discover got here after 30 days on the bargaining desk and eight days of mediation, in keeping with the union.
In a Friday assertion, LifeLabs mentioned it was ready to renew negotiations over the weekend and remained dedicated to reaching a deal.
The corporate added that it has been designated a necessary service by the BC Labour Relations Board, and can stay operational all through the job motion.
“We’ve got labored with the BCGEU to place a plan in place for the important service ranges that we are going to keep with a view to present very important outpatient laboratory testing for our sufferers,” it mentioned.
Talking Wednesday, B.C. Well being Minister Adrian Dix mentioned the job motion would have a restricted impact on COVID-19 testing, which is “principally” carried out in provincial labs.
“We’re doing our personal testing program on COVID-19, and that may stay unchanged,” he mentioned. “We’re assured we’re going to have the ability to present care.”
Smith mentioned if the 2 sides didn’t attain a deal within the quick time period, the union might start escalating job motion by Nov. 1, which might embody picket strains at “chosen websites.”
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