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White Rock union talks ‘did not go well’
Unionized City of White Rock workers are saying, once again, that strike action is imminent.
Mike Guraliuk, president of the union representing city workers, said Monday that the latest talks with the employer – held Friday, Saturday and Sunday – “did not go well at all.”
“The employer showed very little interest in addressing our issues, so tonight we’ve got a membership meeting and we expect to move toward job action shortly.”
But city officials say they remain optimistic the two groups’ differences can be resolved.
“I guess it’s a difference of opinion,” city manager Dan Bottrill said. “We’re hoping to see both sides be able to meet and come to some sort of resolution on some of these items. We understand that sometimes it doesn’t go smoothly.”
Guraliuk said the union is in a position to give the city 72-hours strike notice. Two weeks ago, he predicted action would be taken within days.
The membership voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action in February, and had been gearing up to put it in motion just before last weekend’s talks were arranged. Letters sent to White Rock residents and businesses – that also arrived in some South Surrey mailboxes – describe key issues as clear hours of work, fair treatment for casual and part-time employees and protection to workers who become seriously ill.
Bottrill said the city is prepared for job action but is hopeful “that the parties will continue to get together and negotiate an agreement that we’re both satisfied with.”
Should a strike come to fruition, Bottrill said most of the gaps created will be filled by exempt workers.
The unionized employees – with posts at city hall, leisure services, engineering and public works and RCMP support staff – have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011.