Union members at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) have voted 87 percent in favour of job action, said the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE), Local 378 said.
The workers’ collective agreement expired in 2010. The union says it has been bargaining with ICBC since January 2011.
“The strength of this vote is a clear indication of the level of frustration felt by our members at ICBC,” said COPE 378’s Vice President Jeff Gillies in a statement. “We’ve been without a contract for two years. ICBC has refused to talk about the issues which are a top priority for our members: workload, wages and contracting out. We hope the mandate for job action will prompt ICBC to work with us at the bargaining table to find a fair and reasonable agreement.”
Earlier this week, ICBC announced that it has applied to the government for essential service status, which would prevent strike action by some workers.
“It’s a stretch to see how ICBC qualifies under essential services legislation and especially egregious given how long we’ve not had a contract. It’s a big hammer they’ve pulled out and it was premature. We had been hoping for a negotiated settlement.” Gillies said.
Gillies added that the 4,600 members of COPE 378’s dispute is with ICBC and the government, not drivers, and that the union would make pains to avoid impacting the public if forced into job action.