Highways workers vote 94% in favour of job action in Okanagan Shuswap

May 24, 2007

Highways workers in the Okanagan Shuswap have given their bargaining committee an overwhelming strike mandate.

Tuesday night BCGEU members employed by Argo Road Maintenance (North Okanagan) Inc. voted 94 % in favour of strike action.

The 115 workers employed by Argo are responsible for maintaining 4,400 kilometres of roads and highways in the region which includes Vernon, Salmon Arm and Armstrong.

"Our negotiating committee is fully prepared to return to the table if and when Argo indicates a willingness to restart talks with some realistic proposals," said George Heyman, BCGEU president.

The union and employer are far apart on issues including wages, benefits and the length of the collective agreement.

"People in this region have watched the steady deterioration of roads and highways under the privatization of highways maintenance in British Columbia. Our members at Argo are standing up for a better collective agreement but they are also speaking out for better maintenance of our highways," Heyman said.

Essential service levels have been established and Argo workers will respond to emergency situations in the region.

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Contact: Evan Stewart, BCGEU Communications, (604) 291-9611