We will stand up and fight!
As you know, after the government announced their intention to sell off the warehouses and distribution system, the BCGEU reached a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to protect members.
According to the MOA, all Retail Store & Warehouse component members whose jobs are made redundant due to the sale will receive employment offers with the new operator. Members of other components (Administrative Services; Social, Information & Health; and Environmental, Technical & Operational) whose jobs become redundant may also receive offers from the new operator. In any case, they’re eligible for permanent placement through the Article 36 joint committee.
The agreement, effective April 1, 2012, also includes the following provisions:
But this is not the only way that BCGEU plans to stand up for members and protect jobs. The union is planning a fight-back campaign to keep the warehouses public and to protect the LDB from further privatization.
BCGEU has been working in the Article 29 committee to get as much information from the government as possible on the planned sale. From those meetings we understand that the government will issue the Request For Proposals (RFP) around the end of April and then allow 60-90 days for bidding. The government will then narrow the field down to no more than three potential bidders before they choose one successful bidder. Negotiations with the successful bidder will likely conclude in the spring of 2013 followed by a transition period.
The timeline for the sale of the warehouses indicates that we likely have until November before a preferred bidder is chosen. The sale must be completed by March 2013 to book the proceeds against the 2012/13 budget. We will be doing all that we can to keep the system public, including strike duties which seek to create public awareness about the value of the public liquor distribution system.
But we’ll need your help. The most important thing to do right now is to ensure a strong strike vote with full participation of members. This will get the attention of government concerning our bargaining and the attention of the public concerning the value of our liquor distribution system as we run our campaign.
In the coming weeks your Component 5 executive will be working with the BCGEU research and campaigns department to develop a plan and start organizing actions that will require a high degree of member-engagement. You, your co-workers and your brothers and sisters across the BCGEU are the strongest resource we have in our efforts to keep the system public. It will be up to all of us to do our part and stand up and fight.