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Locked out of Paradise


Town council moves for lockout after unionized workers vote to strike

Effective 6 a.m. Monday morning, unionized workers with the Town of Paradise were locked out. 

The town issues a news release Sunday outlining the latest development in the ongoing collective bargaining process. 

“We regret that we have to proceed with lockout action for our bargaining unit employees," Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Laurie said in the release. 

"The Town has negotiated in good faith and made a fair and respectful offer which the bargaining unit has rejected. With a strike vote in place, in the interest of our residents, we cannot stand by and wait for a strike to happen." 

Laurie said the town has been in frequent negotiations with its unionized workers since the collective agreement expired Dec. 31, 2016. 

The union bargaining unit voted in favour of a strike on Oct. 15. 

On two separate occasions, tentative agreements were reached, but both times they were unable to reach a negotiated settlement Laurie said in the news release. 

Laurie said council made reasonable offers to the bargaining unit employees — a three-year offer which included a 10 per cent wage increase over three years, increases to standby rates, changes to overtime allocations, increase in per diem rate for travel and leave items requested by the union. No changes to retirement or health benefits were included in the offer. 

But the union rejected the offer, Laurie said. 

“To increase the offer means we either have to increase revenues or decrease expenditures to the town; the only way to increase revenues is to increase taxes and other fees to our residents, and to decrease expenditures means we have to reduce Town services and programs," Laurie said. 

"We are simply not prepared to do either of those options.” 

During the lockout essential services will still be maintained by the town, including water testing, garbage collection and ice/snow control. Recycling collection is suspended. 

The town hall will be opened for essential services. 

All recreational facilities are closed effective Sunday Oct. 22. This includes Paradise Double Ice Complex, Paradise Youth and Community Centre, St. Thomas Community Centre, Dianne Whalen Memorial Soccer Complex, Milton Road Softball Complex and Peter Barry Duff Memorial Park. 

After school programs, fitness programs and other recreational programs are suspended. 

Town council meetings will move to a monthly schedule. 

“We recognize the inconvenience this lockout is bringing to our residents, but we feel we have no choice but to take this step in order to bring about a resolution to the bargaining process," Laurie said. "The Town is willing to return to negotiations at any time, as long as the bargaining unit is interested in sincere and meaningful discussions.”

To get updates on the impact of services in the Town of Paradise visit paradise.ca/jobaction 

 

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