ICBC seeks ruling to blunt possible strike

Union members vote in favour of job action, demand 10 per cent pay hike

Unionized ICBC workers have voted 87 per cent in favour of strike action to back demands for hefty pay hikes totaling 10 per cent.

The old collective agreement expired in 2010 and the 4,600 members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union have been bargaining without a contract for 15 months.

COPE local 378 vice-president Jeff Gillies said the strong vote reflects member “frustration” and said priority issues for the union are workload, wages and contracting out.

The union wants five per cent pay raises in each of 2012 and 2013, he said, while the employer wants a five-year contract with no pay increases.

“The corporation has been extremely profitable,” Gillies said. “It’s time to share some success with the workers.”

He cited the provincial government’s decision to siphon nearly $1.2 billion out of ICBC over a five-year period, and said auto body shops, lawyers and other contracted professionals are all receiving more from ICBC.

The Crown corporation, meanwhile, applied to the Labour Relations Board on April 19 to have parts of the ICBC workforce designated essential services, restricting the scope of any job action.

The filing says the designation is required to maintain the flow of rehabilitation and accident benefits to injured drivers, to register, license and insure vehicles, and to continue issuing and renewing driver’s licences, as well as revoking those of prohibited drivers.

It says there will be “irreparable harm” to the public without the ruling, along with serious financial damage to various individuals and businesses.

A ruling from the LRB is expected by late May.

Gillies was hopeful talks could resume in May in light of the strike mandate.

“As far as a full-blown strike, that’s a very remote possibility – it’s somewhere far off in negotiations,” he said, adding the union would instead first consider “strategic job action” to put pressure on the corporation and the government if talks fail.

“We’re not interested in putting drivers in the middle of this.”

The union also accuses the province of blocking full negotiations until a government-ordered review of ICBC announced last fall is complete.

ICBC spokesman Mark Jan Vrem confirmed the corporation has no mandate from Victoria to bargain on monetary issues pending the results of the review, but said non-monetary issues can still be negotiated.

He said the essential services application is the “responsible thing to do” but added ICBC hopes for a settlement without job action.

Just Posted

Pet-A-Palooza a good reason to ‘pawse’ this weekend in Victoria

Puppies, goats, wiener dog races and more on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy Aug. 18-19

UVic art display showcases craft of bookmaking

Art of the Book 2018 is in the Audain Gallery at UVic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Aug. 11

Celebrate local food with Feast of Fields in North Saanich

21st Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island is at Kildara Farms on Aug. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Baseball’s HarbourCats wind up WCL season with loss to Pickles

Victoria needed a win to make the league playoffs, now looks ahead to 2019

VIDEO: Huge crowd celebrates Sunfest opening night with Canyon, Pritchett in Lake Cowichan

Plenty to enjoy as Sunfest Country Music Festival opened, and lots of folks came out to do so

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

Brad Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

Actor Brad Pitt denies Angelina Jolie Pitt’s claim that he has paid no meaningful child support.

WINE LOVERS UNITE: Victoria festival offers numerous tasting options

Parkside Hotel and Spa hosting Victoria International Wine Festival

Farquhar Auditorium updates image for 40th season

The Farquhar at UVic ushers in new season Sept. 22

THEATRE SKAM: Young cast brings Concord Floral to life in vacant downtown retail space

Former office supply store a unique venue for telling mysterious tale of youth with secrets

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy visits Prospect Lake

Power To Be annual fundraiser event brings in big personalities

Bard Across the Bridge brings ‘The Tempest’ seaside

Stage set for classic Shakespeare tale in Saxe Point Park this week

Most Read