B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) workers at LifeLabs issued a 72-hour strike notice as of 7 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 19).
The union said that the strike notice, which could take effect as early as Friday at 7 p.m., comes after 30 days at the bargaining table and eight days of mediation.
“BCGEU members working for LifeLabs are among the ‘healthcare heroes’ that have pushed themselves to the limit and beyond throughout the pandemic,” said union president Stephanie Smith. The company provides a variety of medical testing services.
According to the BCGEU, the main issue in negotiations is “fair and reasonable wage increases.” The union said that LifeLabs has stalled attempts to keep workers’ wages in line with public sector wages and in line with inflation.
Because LifeLabs is considered an essential service, some locations will remain open during the strike. To see which location are on strike, visit www.lifelabs.bcgeu.ca.
The BCGEU alleged that in April, when bargaining began, the company tried to negotiate away sick benefits and vacation pay. When asked about the issue, LifeLabs directed Black Press media to a statement.
“We have delivered multiple, competitive offers to the BCGEU and reached agreement on several specific proposals – including key monetary proposals. However, after the BCGEU rejected our latest offer, we agreed that we have reached an impasse in bargaining,” LifeLabs stated.
The company said that while most patience services centres will remain open, and labs will continue to function as normal, some centres will be closed on a rotating centre due to the strike. Patients will be contacted if their appointments need to be rescheduled and details on operating hours can be found at https://locations.lifelabs.com.