Their contract has been expired since 2013 and Qualicum Beach town workers recently voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action, CUPE Local 401 vice president Laurence Amy confirmed last week.
“That’s with 100 per cent turn-out from our membership,” Amy told The NEWS from Nanaimo on Friday, noting 67 ballots were cast.
Amy declined to comment on the specifics of the contract negotiations, but said wages and benefits are “always on the table.”
“We don’t have dates scheduled but we have applied for mediation through the labour board,” he said. “In the meantime we will be doing essential service hearings… basically going over what is essential in Qualicum Beach.”
Daniel Sailland, the town’s CAO, confirmed negotiations commenced with three days of discussion late last month and more scheduled for June. Sailland said the town’s contract expired at the end of 2013. He said the “entire contract” is being negotiated.
“We have ongoing discussions that are scheduled for the near future and we expect to have this resolved shortly,” he said.
Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek was not available for comment last week. Coun. Neil Horner seemed certain the town and union will come to an agreement. “Both sides have consummate professionals at negotiating tables and I’m confident they will come up with a solution in the best interest of the Town of Qualicum Beach and the people who work there,” Horner said.
— NEWS Staff