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BC Ferries workers threaten legal action over layoffs

Last Updated Apr 5, 2020 at 7:42 am PDT

FILE: Queen of Cowichan (Credit: BC Ferries)
Summary

The union representing BC Ferries staff says it has been blindsided by the announcement of service cut-backs & layoffs

BC Ferries has suspended service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo, among other cuts

NANAIMO (NEWS 1130) – The union representing staff at BC Ferries says it has been blindsided by the announcement of service cut-backs and layoffs.

On Friday, BC Ferries announced it was suspending the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo route for the next two months, and it is cutting back on other routes.

Those changes took effect on Saturday.

In a press release on its website, the BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union says the layoffs will be disastrous for workers and their families.

April-3-Media-Release

“We expected a workforce adjustment given the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the spirit of ‘getting through this together,’ we expected more from BC Ferries. These workers and their families deserve better,” says Graeme Johnston, the union’s provincial president.

“A sudden layoff without notice and other provisions of severance laid out in their Collective Agreement would be devastating to these workers and their families.”

The release says the union is committed to take “any legal action required to protect the rights of its members” and wants to work cooperatively to facilitate workplace adjustments in the ‘best manner possible.’

In a statement to NEWS 1130, BC Ferries says, “we are in the process of personally contacting our affected staff to discuss their options. We are trying to do this in the most respectful manner.”

The layoffs affect hundreds of workers.

Besides the suspension of the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo Bay route, BC Ferries is also reducing sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen to Duke Point.