Mainroad, union in bargaining talks

Road maintenance staff in lockout approve strike if necessary

Bargaining resumed Monday between Mainroad East Kootenay and locked out staff.

The road maintenance contractor issued lockout notice on Sunday, August 19 to 95 staff at its seven maintenance yards in the East Kootenay.

The Mainroad Group said that the local group is the only one in B.C.’s 28 maintenance service areas that did not sign an agreement earlier this year.

Now the two sides are meeting in bargaining talks, said Chris Bradshaw of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

“We had a date scheduled and both sides are showing up to that meeting. It remains to be seen whether we will be able to make some progress or not,” said Bradshaw.

Since the lockout started last week, BCGEU members who are Mainroad staff took a strike vote. Over two days, Monday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 21, the members voted 96.875 per cent in favour of striking if it becomes necessary.

“When it became clear that the employer was going to lock out the workers, the bargaining committee decided that to protect itself and keep the bargaining process continuing, they would take a strike vote,” said Bradshaw. “We came out of that with over 96 per cent approval rate to take strike action if needed.”