Argo Road Maintenance (North Okanagan) workers off the job

May 28, 2007

Job action spreading across province

Highways maintenance workers employed by Argo Road Maintenance (North Okanagan) who are members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) went on strike today in the north Okanagan.

The walkout began at 9:00 a.m. at the Argo yard in Chase.

The BCGEU represents 115 employees at Argo. On May 22 they voted 94% in favour of strike action.
Workers at Argo maintain over 4,400 kilometres of highways and roads in the north Okanagan which includes Armstrong, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

"Our negotiators are ready to go back to the table when Argo presents a reasonable offer that moves us towards a fair collective agreement," said George Heyman, BCGEU president.

The union and employer are far apart on issues of wages, benefits and contracting out.

"Our members at Argo have seen their wages and benefits cut over the years. Now Argo is offering a paltry increase that's completely out of line with the economic conditions in BC right now," Heyman said.

The union has negotiated essential service levels and will respond to any emergencies.

The strike at Argo in the north Okanagan brings the total number of highways workers off the job to approximately 400 across the province:

• VSA Highway Maintenance workers in Lytton and Merritt began rotating strike action on April 23 and were locked out on April 26
• Mainroad South Island Contracting workers on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands walked off the job on May 22
• Yellowhead Road and Bridge workers in Prince George went on strike on May 23.