Sidney/North Saanich VIRL branch site of strike for second straight day – Peninsula News Review

While the Sidney/North Saanich branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) remains closed for the second day in a row due to rotating strikes, negotiations are expected to resume Wednesday evening.

“Picketing continues today (Wednesday) at VIRL branches in Nanaimo Harbourfront, Campbell River and Sidney following the resumption of mediated negotiations last night at the instigation of the employer,” the BC General said. Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in a statement to Black Press. “Unfortunately, the employer did not make us an offer but we agreed to see them again this (Wednesday) evening. We are ready and waiting to receive a fair and respectful offer and we will continue our actions, as well as our call on the VIRL Board of Directors to authorize a new salary mandate until we do.

The Sidney/North Saanich branch was also the site of labor action last week, meaning the facility has been closed three times in the past two weeks.

David Carson, director of corporate communications and strategic initiatives at VIRL, confirmed the upcoming meeting. “(And) we look forward to moving the discussion forward towards a hopeful resolution,” he said.

The BCGEU announced on February 22 that 95% of Local 702 members, representing 42 full-time employees (12% of VIRL’s permanent workforce), had voted in favor of industrial action. The union issued a 72-hour strike notice on February 24.

The collective agreement between VIRL and BC General Employees’ Union Local 702 expired on December 31, 2020, and the two parties have been bargaining since September 2021.

The BCGEU said on its website that librarians are seeking a deal that aligns their compensation with that of other libraries in the province and reflects the rising cost of living on Vancouver Island.

VIRL said earlier that 80% of communities served by VIRL are rural coastal communities, struggling with post-pandemic economic recovery calling for a sustainable deal for all communities.

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