Highways Strike Ecalates on Vancouver Island

June 14, 2007

Job Action could spread to Lower Mainland

Highways maintenance workers employed by Mainroad South Island Contracting who are members of the B.C. Government and
Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) began full scale job action today.

On May 22 the union began a series of rotating strikes at Mainroad South Island.

Today all workers are off the job and will remain off the job until a new collective agreement is reached.

The BCGEU represents 88 employees at Mainroad South Island. They maintain over 3,300 kilometres of roads and highways on southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands.

"Our negotiators remain ready to go back to the bargaining table," said George Heyman, BCGEU President. "However, there is a significant gap between what our members are looking for, and what Mainroad is offering when it comes to wages, benefits and the length of the next agreement."

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

"We are committed to maintaining essential services and making sure the traveling public is safe, but non-essential services are starting to pile up," Heyman said.

More than 400 highways workers are now off the job in Nicola-Merritt, the Prince George area, the north Okanagan and southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Combined they maintain almost 14,000 kilometres of roads and highways.

Next Monday and Tuesday (June 18-19) the BCGEU will conduct a strike vote of workers at Mainroad Howe Sound Contracting. They maintain roads from North Vancouver to Pemberton.