BCGEU, employer resolve post-avalanche pay problems for Coquihalla toll plaza workers

February 19, 2008

Quick work by BCGEU ensured that union members who staff the Coquihalla toll plaza are paid for their shifts during the week-long avalanche closure that brought traffic on one of B.C.'s most important roadways to a standstill.

The highway was closed Feb. 7 by a massive snow slide south of the toll plaza. That didn't pose a difficulty for about half of the staff who live in Merritt. They were able to report for work and were assigned other duties and paid in full.

However, the remaining members who are Hope-based couldn't make it through the slide zone to their jobs at the plaza. When work resumed on Feb. 15, these members were told they wouldn't be paid for their scheduled shifts during the closure.

"When complaints about the inequity began surfacing first thing Friday, we immediately contacted the Public Service Agency," says BCGEU president George Heyman. "We made the case that toll plaza employees should be paid for shifts during the closure regardless of where they live."

And by Monday, says Heyman, the Ministry of Transportation agreed that workers affected by the closure will be paid for shifts missed during the avalanche.

"We appreciate the employer's response to our efforts on behalf of our members," says Heyman. "They reviewed the matter promptly and changed their original decision."

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